Delay in abolishing death penalty is justice delayed for Altantuya’s family, says group

PETALING JAYA: The hold-up in abolishing the mandatory death sentence is delaying justice in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, says a group campaigning against the death penalty.

Madpet (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) said that abolishing the death penalty would enable Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two people convicted for Altantuya’s murder, to be brought back home from Australia.

“It is now good that the current Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty, and all that needs to be done is the passing of Bills in Parliament that would abolish the death penalty, and hopefully also result in the death sentence of all on death row being commuted.

“This would enable Sirul to be brought back to Malaysia, and his evidence which may be vital for the successful prosecution of any other remaining perpetrators will finally happen,” said Madpet founder Charles Hector in a statement Thursday (Feb 14).

Australia takes into account whether or not the death penalty would be applied in that country in extradition cases.

Hector said the Altantuya case has also made Malaysians aware that there may be many others who ordered or paid for some other to commit murder who may still be out there free, and as such justice is not yet fully achieved.

“All these other persons who ordered or paid for such murders should also be identified, prosecuted, convicted and sentence,” he said.

He also called for the government to immediately table the relevant Bills that will see the abolition of the death penalty during in upcoming Parliamentary sitting beginning in March.

Last October, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the Cabinet would abolish the death penalty, with a moratorium for those on death row.

However, there have been protests from some quarters, including law enforcement officials and the families of some murder victims.

Earlier Thursday, Liew said the Cabinet would make the final decision on whether to bring the legislative amendments to Parliament in March.

In 2009, Sirul and Azilah Hadri were convicted of Altantuya’s murder and sentenced to death.

The Court of Appeal overturned their death sentences in 2013, but this was reinstated by the Federal Court after the prosecution filed an appeal.

However, Sirul fled to Australia and was detained by Immigration officials in Sydney after Interpol issued a Red Notice for him.

He has been held at the Villawood detention camp in Sydney since 2015.

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