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Altantuya’s father relieved as her killers get death penalty

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on April 11, 2009

The Malaysian Insider

altKUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Someone is finally taking the rap for killing my daughter and I am glad.

That is what the father of murdered Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu said.

Over the past two days, Dr Shaariibuu Setev fretted that the two men on trial for murdering his daughter would be let off.

So, he was relieved when Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshi, the honorary consul for Mongolia, called him at 10am on Thursday to relate the good news to him.

The verdict: Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 33, and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, 37, were found guilty and sentenced to hang for her murder.

The two are members of an elite unit which guards the country’s top leaders.

They were reportedly stoic and composed when High Court judge Mohd Zaki Md Yassin delivered his verdict.

“Dr Shaariibuu was happy with the result, and he was satisfied to see that justice has been served,” said Syed Abdul Rahman.

“When I spoke to him two days ago, he was upset because he had assumed that no one would be found in the wrong. He doesn’t have much confidence in the Malaysian judiciary.”

That was one of reasons he didn’t attend the hearing this time round, added Syed Abdul Rahman.

His frustration was understandable given that his daughter was murdered 2½ years ago in October 2006.

Altantuya, then 28, was shot twice in the head and her body blown up with military-grade explosives in a jungle clearing, leaving only shattered bone fragments as evidence.

sha3The trial, which started in June 2007, was adjourned many times, making it the longest trial in Malaysia. And it has hurt the reputation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak despite no evidence linking him to the dead woman.

Syed Abdul Rahman said that Shaariibuu was still upset that political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who was initially charged with abetting the two men, was acquitted in October last year.

Abdul Razak, a close associate of Najib, had been accused of ordering police to kill his former lover after she came to his family home to harass him for money.

“I told him there’s nothing we can do. The court has decided, and we can’t turn back the clock,” said Syed Abdul Rahman.

During their conversation, which lasted 10 to 15 minutes, Shaariibuu also wanted to know if the two men will appeal against their sentences.

“I said that it’s obvious they will appeal,” said Syed Abdul Rahman.

On Thursday, the courtroom was once again packed to the brim with more than 60 media representatives, like in the early days of the trial when police had to control the numbers entering the courtroom.

When first interviewed at the start of the trial in June 2007, Shaariibuu, a psychology professor, was a broken man.

Traces of worry and anger were evident on his face.

He wanted answers but the start of the trial kept getting postponed.

He said then: “The mind is like a battery and there are people who are waiting for my battery to run out.”

It was the first of six trips Shaariibuu made to Malaysia to attend the trial.

At that time, he was frustrated as he could not get hold of all his daughter’s remains to give her a proper burial. The rest of her remains are still being held as trial exhibits.

Since his daughter’s death, he has been taking care of her two boys, the younger of whom suffers from a rare disease and cannot walk.

His wife also fell ill shortly after his daughter’s death, and was in and out of the hospital.

Despite all that he had gone through, Shaariibuu stressed that he was hopeful of a fair trial.

Thursday’s verdict brought him one step closer to a much-needed closure.

But there is still the RM100 million suit he filed against Azilah, Sirul and the Malaysian government.

Syed Abdul Rahman said they will still be proceeding with it.

“With the two men found guilty and sentenced to death, the chances of the family getting the money are strong,” he added.

Shaariibuu had previously said that he needed the money for his grandchildren, especially the younger one, whose medical treatments cost at least US$15,000 (RM55,500) a year.

Reflecting on how the tragedy changed his life, Shaariibuu had said philosophically back then: “My life was white before this happened. Now it’s black.

“But I want it to become white again… after the case is over.” — New Paper

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