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KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has denounced the Australian government for snubbing Malaysia’s bid to extradite convicted murderer Sirul Azhar Umar, who is detained there.
The PKR de facto leader told the country’s ABC radio that unless Sirul, who is sentenced to hang here for murdering Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, is deported soon, the Australian government would be perceived as a nation that shielded wrongdoers.
“It’s time ... for Australia to accept the fact that some of their foreign policies clearly have been tainted, have been perceived by many Malaysians as complicit to the tolerance of crimes, of corruption and also criminal actions,” he was quoted as saying.
Sirul, who was recently interviewed by The Guardian, said he was not willing to return to Malaysia even if his death sentence is commuted to life in prison, as suggested by Ramkarpal Singh Deo to circumvent Australia’s objection to the extradition.
The former police commando expressed fear that he would be killed while in prison here.
However, Anwar insisted that it was only right that Sirul be sent home to serve the appropriate punishment for his crime.
“You have to allow for due process to take place and Malaysian authorities may seek Australia’s co-operation just to make sure there’s a fair trial,” Anwar said.
“You can’t have a trial when a person is detained elsewhere,” he added.
Separately, Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop told Australian Associated Press (AAP) that ties with the Malaysia’s previous administration had been “positive and broad-based”.
“We do not seek to impinge on the sovereignty of other countries, just as we expect other countries not to interfere in our political affairs,” Bishop was quoted as saying.
“Questions about extradition are a matter for the Home Affairs and Attorney General’s Department,” she added.
In 2009, Sirul and Azilah Hadri, both formerly with the police’s Special Action Unit were found guilty of murdering Altantuya in Mukim Bukit Raja in Klang between 10pm on October 19, 2006 and 1am on October 20, 2006.
During the course of their trial, it was revealed that the Mongolian model was shot and her body blown up with explosives in a jungle clearing on the night of October 19.
The Court of Appeal acquitted the duo on August 23, 2013, but the Federal Court had on January 13, 2015 unanimously reversed their acquittal and restored the court order for their mandatory death sentence.
Sirul fled to Australia before the apex court made its decision.
Since then, Sirul has been kept in the detention centre as he has also been denied a temporary protection visa.