Jun 3, 2007

Be ready for the truth to be unveiled this Monday

Are you ready for the truth? Can you handle the truth?!

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 (Bernama) -- The trial for the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu, expected to run for four weeks, begins tomorrow before Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Yassin at the Shah Alam High Court.

On the dock are two policemen from the Special Action Squad -- 31-year-old C/Insp Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, 36, -- and political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 47.

The policemen are alleged to have committed the murder at Lot 12843 and Lot 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, Selangor, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20, last year.

Abdul Razak is charged with abetting the policemen to commit the murder at Bangunan Getah Asli in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, between 9.54am and 11.05am on Oct 18.

If convicted, all three will face the death penalty.

Representing the prosecution are head of the Classified Cases Unit Salehuddin Saidin and head of the General Crimes and Sexual Unit Noreen Badaruddin.

The defence team comprise counsel Hazman Ahmad and J. Kuldeep Kumar for Azilah; Kamarul Hisham Kamarudin, Hasnal Rezua Merican Habib Marican and Ahmad Zaidi Zainal for Sirul Azhar; Wong Kian Kheong for Abdul Razak.

Lawyer Karpal Singh, who holds a watching brief for Altantuya's family and the Mongolian government, meanwhile, has applied for the right to examine witnesses and make submissions in the trial.

Judge Mohd Zaki is expected to hear Karpal's application before the trial begins.

The case began on Nov 7 last year when bone fragments of a woman were found in a jungle in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam. Investigations showed that the bone fragments were of Altantuya, 28, who is believed to have been shot and her body blown up.

About a week later, Azilah and Sirul Azhar were charged in the Shah Alam Magistrate's Court with the woman's murder. The next day, Abdul Razak was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court with abetting the duo in the murder.

The magistrates denied the three accused bail and ordered the cases to be transferred to the High Court.

Justice Datuk Abdul Kadir Musa of the Kuala Lumpur High Court, however, released Abdul Razak on a RM1 million bail without the security being posted pending the case's transfer to the Shah Alam High Court.

At the Shah Alam High Court, the three accused had been expected to be tried jointly before Justice Datuk K. N. Segara but when the case was mentioned on Dec 14, it was presided over by Mohd Zaki, who was then judicial commissioner because Segara was on leave.

Mohd Zaki extended Abdul Razak's bail but ordered him to deposit the security pending the re-mention before Justice Segara.

On Jan 5, Justice Segara cancelled the bail and ordered Abdul Razak to be remanded. Abdul Razak sought to reverse the High Court decision at the Court of Appeal but failed.

The trial had initially been fixed for March 2008 but it was later brought forward to tomorrow by Mohd Zaki after the case was transferred to him.

Last month, Sirul Azhar sought to gain access to the prosecution witnesses' statements before the commencement of the trial but Mohd Zaki rejected his application.

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