Sirul could be extradited if death sentence is commuted, says Saifuddin

KUALA LUMPUR: The extradition agreement between Malaysia and Australia can only be invoked in the case of former policeman Sirul Azhar Umar if his death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment, says the Home Minister.

Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic) said this was due to the dual criminality requirement in the agreement that needs to be satisfied.

Dual criminality refers to a criminal act in both countries that carries similar sentences, he explained.

"Therefore, while we have the extradition agreement (with Australia), there was a difference (in terms of sentencing).

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"In Malaysia, Sirul has been sentenced to death. Meanwhile, Australia does not (have) the death penalty.

"Among the (conditions) that need to be satisfied before extradition is allowed is for the crime to have an element of dual criminality," he told reporters at the media room in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 14).

Malaysia had abolished the mandatory death sentence from July 4, to vary the sentence relating to imprisonment for natural life and whipping.

Under the Abolition of the Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023, the court now had the discretion to impose the death penalty or jail for a period of not less than 30 years, but not exceeding 40 years; with imprisonment also accompanied by whipping of no fewer than 12 strokes.

Saifuddin said the onus was now on Sirul, through his lawyer, whether or not to file a review to have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

"The death sentence still exists. Only the mandatory element has been changed.

"The question now is, would Sirul, through his lawyer, apply to review the sentence?" he added.

ALSO READ: Cops to discuss Sirul's repatriation with AG, says IGP

He said the extradition process could begin if the review resulted in Sirul's sentence being commuted to life imprisonment.

"However, this is still an assumption,” he said, adding that he did not have any information on whether or not Sirul's lawyer had filed any application.

In 2009, Sirul and accomplice former chief inspector Azilah Hadri were convicted of murdering Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu and were sentenced to death.

The Court of Appeal overturned their sentences in 2013 but upon the prosecution's appeal, the sentences were upheld by the Federal Court.

Sirul fled to Australia, where he was detained by Immigration there after Interpol issued a red notice on him.

Sirul was released last week after an Australian High Court decision on Nov 8 ruled that non-citizens unable to be deported could no longer be detained indefinitely.

Altantuya, 28, is believed to have been shot dead before her body was blown up with explosives at a secondary forest near the Subang Dam in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam in 2006.

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