Altantuya Murder Verdict Tomorrow

(Bernama) – "If asked, I certainly want to be freed from this charge," said Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri with high hopes though he is well aware that the High Court could hand out the death sentence on him Thursday (9 April).

Azilah who is accused of murdering the Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu three years ago said this to Bernama on the last day of his defence trial at the Shah Alam High Court in February. Azilah's words made his fiancee Nur Azila Baharuddin smile. She has always been at his side throughout the trial to provide support. And according to Nur Azila, if Azilah's hope turns true, they will set their wedding at the nearest date.

Nur Azila noted that she is anxious of the court's verdict tomorrow.

Meanwhile Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, the second defendant in the ase, who prefers to keep to himself compared with Azilah, expressed the same feelings when asked the same question.

His serious looking face changed suddenly and with a big grin replied :"God willing there is some hope."

Both members of the Special Action Force (UTK) completed their own defence without any witness. Azilah, 33, who is represented by two counsels, Datuk Hazman Ahmad and J. Kuldeep Kumar presented his verbal testimony from the dock while Sirul Azhar, 37, who is resented by Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, Hasnal Redzua Marican and Ahmad Zaidi Zainal chose to read out the written testimony from the dock.


In the high profile trial that hogged the local and international media, the duo were charged with murdering Altantuya, who was 28 then, between Lot 12843 and Lot 16735 Mukim Bukit Raja near here, between 10 pm, Oct 19 and 1 am, Oct 20, 2006.

Initially they were tried together with the Executive Director of Malaysian Strategic Research Centre (MSRC), Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 48, who was charged with conspiring in the murder of Altantuya.

However on Oct 31, 2008, the political analyst walked out as a free man after the court found that the prosecution had failed to furnish proof on an important element on the conspiracy charge. With Abdul Razak no more in the picture, the case lost its `glamour' and those who initially followed the case closely were no longer keen to follow.

Even now many are not aware that the fate of the remaining two defendants will be decided by the court tomorrow. Also, since then the media enthusiasm on the trial waned with the number of the media members covering the trial drastically reduced unlike previously where police had to control their numbers in the courtroom. Abdul Razak since has left to United Kingdom and is said to be taking up PhD at Oxford University.


While Azilah and Sirul Azhar who pleaded not guilty are hoping to be released, the prosecution is going all out to prove they are the ones behind Altantuya's murder and the disposal of her remains using explosives. The prosecution team consisting of Deputy Public Prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah, Noorin Badaruddin, Manoj Kurup and Hanim Rashid stressed in their submissions that Azilah and Sirul Azhar are the people behind Altantuya's murder.

Based on the evidence gathered from prosecution witnesses, the explosive used to blow up Altantuya's body was probably placed in her mouth.

Manoj noted at the end of the prosecution's case that both accused had the motif to kill and it was a pre-planned crime. Manoj noted that several circumstantial evidence that the prosecution tried to prove were never denied, explained or answered by both defendants.

"Several of the strong evidence deduced from the testimonies when spun together will make two ropes that are strong enough to hang each one of them.

"The prosecution has proven beyond reasonable doubt on the actions of the duo calls for their conviction on the murder carried out with the common intention," he said.


Azilah who started his testimony on Jan 15 stated that he had no motif to kill or destroy the woman and instead he only met Altantuya to advise her politely not to harass Abdul Razak or create a ruckus outside the latter's home. Azilah also told the court that he was ordered by a superior, DSP Musa Safri to help Abdul Razak and thus he would not have done something stupid like killing and what more when he is a policeman.

While defending himself Sirul Azhar broke down a few times and related to the court that he has been made the `sacrificial lamb' in the murder.

"I have no reason to hurt anyone, what more killing someone brutally. I appeal to the court that has the standing and powers to decide on my fate, not to punish me because by doing so it only completes the game play of those against me," he said reading out his written testimony on Feb 4.


The case as set many record including being the most number of days for hearing (159 days) and 84 witnesses at the prosecution stage and two at the defence stage, and it remained the high profile case for almost two years before Abdul Razak was released.

According to records, Azilah has been incarcerated at the Sungai Buloh Prison for 891 days while Sirul Azhar 895 days. While there are many conspiracy theories still going around, the verdict on Sirul Azhar and Azilah may put to an end many of these theories.