Altantuya Murder Trial: Azhar Was “Scapegoat”

4 February 2009
Shah Alam

36-year-old murder accused Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar hit a solemn note when he said in court yesterday that he was made a “scapegoat by parties who were not in court”. He was reading a 15-page statement over 55 minutes which described the events leading up to the death of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.

While Azhar admitted to accompanying co-accused Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri to look for Altantuya at a house in Bukit Damansara and at Hotel Malaya, he denied giving any information on the case to the police. He also emphasized to the High Court judge Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin that he did not know Altantuya and political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda and had no dealings with either of them.

Razak was charged with abetting the two accused in the murder but was released by the High Court last October without his defence being called.

Azhar suggested that during the preceding trial hearings, he observed that several main prosecution witnesses, especially those from the serious crime division, had been giving inaccurate statements.

Earlier, Azhar described that on 18 October 2006, he had followed Azilah to locate Hotel Malaya in Kuala Lumpur where Altantuya was staying. When they were heading to Bukit Damansara, Azhar said Azilah explained that DSP Musa Mohd Safri had informed him that DSP Musa’s friend was having a “woman problem”. He said they were asked to patrol the friend’s house in Damansara.

All this time, Azhar said Azilah had never revealed the identities of DSP Musa’s friend, the “Chinese man and woman”, who were supposedly harassing DSP Musa’s friend.

On 31 October 2006, Azhar said he was assigned to escort the Prime Minister to Pakistan. He had left his jeep in the Bukit Aman police headquarters and his car keys in his office. After cleaning his jeep, he left a pair of red slippers packed in a box and place it in the jeep’s boot. He claimed that he has never seen a white pair of slippers shown in a photograph tendered to court.

In Islamabad, Pakistan, on 5 November 2006, Azilah said he was asked to go to a room to prepare food for a Datuk and had given his pistol to a colleague who was about to go on his shift. While he was resting in the room, Azilah saw ACP Mastor and two Special Action Squad officers entering. Mastor had told Azilah he had to return to Malaysia because his ex-wife had lodged a police report against him.

The next day, Azilah flew back to Malaysia with the three officers and was brought to the city police contingent for questioning and remanding. Soon after, he said he was brought to a senior police official’s office in handcuffs where he was told to speak the truth. Lastly, he was taken to his own house and had his photographs taken while holding several items.

Judge Mohd Zaki then set 16 February 2009 for submissions after the defence team closed their case on Wednesday.

The Star Online – Altantuya case: Sirul says he is a scapegoat

New Straits Times Online – Altantuya Murder Trial: I’ve been made a scapegoat, says Sirul

MCW – Altantuya Murder Trial: Witness Statement Application Rejected

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