Govt, Razak Baginda appeal RM5m award

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The government and political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda have appealed to quash a court ruling for them to pay RM5 million to the family of murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

When contacted this afternoon, the family’s counsel Sangeet Kaur Deo confirmed that both defendants have filed their notice of appeal against the Shah Alam High Court verdict on Dec 16 last year.

She added that the family has been served copies of the notices of appeal.

When contacted, senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan, who acted for the government, also confirmed that the government filed its appeal.

On Dec 16, the High Court ordered the government and Razak as well as two other defendants – former Special Actions Unit commandos Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar – to pay RM5 million compensation to the family over her 2006 murder.

Civil court judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera’s verdict in favour of the family came 15 years after the civil action was filed in 2007.

The three plaintiffs – Shariibuu Setev and Altantseseg Sanjaa, who are the deceased’s father and mother, as well as Altantuya’s brother Mungunshagai Bayarjargal – were suing for RM100 million.

Altantuya was murdered in October 2006 and her remains were blown up with military-grade explosives. A separate criminal court convicted Azilah and Sirul of the murder and sentenced them to death in April 2009.

However, the criminal court acquitted Razak of abetting the murder without his defence being called in October 2008.

For the civil action, the government was represented by the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) while Razak was represented by counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon. Azilah and Sirul were not represented.

Azilah is currently in jail on death row in a Malaysian prison.

Sirul, however, fled to Australia prior to the Malaysian apex court upholding the duo’s conviction and death sentence in 2015.

The Federal Court reversed an earlier Court of Appeal decision that quashed the guilty verdict of the two men. Sirul flew to Australia after the Court of Appeal ruling and while the prosecution was appealing to the apex court.

Sirul is currently under the custody of the Australian authorities, who have a policy of not deporting anybody facing the death penalty in the country of origin. – Malaysiakini