Lawyer says no reason now for Altantuya’s killer to remain in Australia.
The government must initiate the extradition of former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar from Australia once Malaysia abolishes the death penalty, said Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh.
The federal lawmaker and lawyer said the move would remove any further legal obstacle to Australia’s repatriation of Sirul, who was convicted here for the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Ramkarpal is representing the family of the slain Mongolian.
Sirul, a former policeman, fled to Australia before he was sentenced to death in 2015 for the 2006 murder of Altantuya. He is being held in an Australian immigration detention facility.
Ramkarpal has been pushing for Sirul to be brought back to complete investigations into who ordered the murder of Altantuya, but the Australian government does not want to do so as he will face the death penalty here.
Australian law prohibits its government from sending any detainee to a destination where he may be put to death.
“Sirul’s sentence also ought to be reviewed and the harshest penalty ought to be imposed on him given the heinous nature of his crime.
“The government must make a formal request to Australia for the return of Sirul as soon as possible after Parliament abolishes the death penalty so that Sirul serves his sentence,” he said in a statement.
Yesterday, de facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong revealed that the Cabinet has agreed to abolish the death penalty and said this would be tabled as soon as the parliamentary session starting Monday.
However, Liew said Sirul’s extradition was not discussed in the same Cabinet meeting.
Ramkarpal also proposed today for a provision to be introduced in the new legislation to allow the judiciary to review existing death sentences individually with an eye on commutation.
He said it was necessary for the courts to have the leeway to substitute the death penalty previously given out with appropriate sentences.
“For instance, a person convicted for trafficking in a small amount of dangerous drugs ought not to be given a lengthy prison sentence compared to a person convicted of murder,” he explained.
Ramkarpal said the abolition of the death penalty was a welcome development, saying the sentence was proven ineffectual as a deterrent to crime.
He said he had represented clients who were sometimes sent to death row.
“You can never be sure of the conviction of death penalty, if it is 100% correct,” he added. “Whether the man should be sent (to be hanged). It is someone’s life.”
In Malaysia, the death penalty, carried out by hanging, is mandatory for crimes such as murder, drug trafficking and possession of firearms.
Between 2007 and 2017, 35 individuals were hanged while another 1,200 are on death row.