No Prima Facie Case Against Abdul Razak Baginda, Says Judge

(Bernama) – Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda has no prima facie case to answer a charge of abetting two Special Action Squad members in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case in 2006, according to a written judgment released by the presiding High Court today.

Shah Alam High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin said that the notes written by Abdul Razak, which were found in Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri’s bag with Abdul Razak’s full residential address, together with the name of his father, Datuk Abdullah Malim Baginda, were wholly consistent with an innocent man asking for assistance from the police to patrol the vicinity of his (Abdul Razak’s) house over Altantuya’s harassment and threats.
In his 70-page judgment, Mohd Zaki also said that even if Abdul Razak could be inferred as having any “motive” in the light of all the blackmailing letters of the deceased (Altantuya), it could not be made as a basis for his conviction without any direct or circumstantial evidence of his participation in any manner in the commission of the offence.
“I am satisfied that there is no prima facie for him to answer his charge. I, accordingly, find the third accused not guilty and order him to be acquitted and discharged,” he said in his judgment made available to the media today.
Regarding Abdul Razak’s affidavit, Mohd Zaki said that he had no reason to disagree with Abdul Razak that Altantuya had blackmailed him.

In the affidavit dated Jan 5, 2007, Abdul Razak admitted having a relationship with Altantuya, whom he met in November 2004, and that Altantuya demanded money from him and blackmailed him as a result of the relationship.
“Can these parts (about Altantuya and meeting with Azilah) of the said affidavit be ignored or rejected? It is my finding that in the absence of any rebuttal evidence against them, coupled with the fact that there is no legal onus that lies upon the third accused to rebut any statutory presumptions, there is clearly to my mind, no reason for them to be ignored and rejected.
“I have perused through the whole contents of the said affidavit. The learned counsel for Abdul Razak submitted that all the exculpatory parts were corroborated in material particulars by P. Balasubramaniam (a private investigator), Burmaa Oyuchimeg (Altantuya’s cousin), Lance Corporal Rohaniza Roslan and Siti Aishah Mohd Azlan (Razak’s secretary), and the other surrounding circumstances have clearly negated and nullified the act of abetment as alleged against the third accused.
“I have no reason to disagree with him. The averment about threat and blackmailing, for example, is corroborated by the threatening letters sent by the deceased to the third accused,” he said.
Altantuya was murdered sometime between 10pm on Oct 19, 2006 and 1am, the following day, in a jungle clearing at Lot 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, Shah Alam.

While Abdul Razak was acquitted, two others charged jointly with him, Azilah and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, were found guilty.
As for Azilah and Sirul Azhar, Mohd Zaki said the defence of each of the accused was essentially one of denial, blaming one another, irreconcilable and ambivalent.
He said Azilah also did not call any of his witnesses to support his defence and his alibi.
In his defence, Azilah said that he was not at the scene of the crime at the relevant date and time and instead, claimed that he was somewhere in Wangsa Maju.
Azilah also claimed that he was not the last person to be with Altantuya before he handed over to Sirul Azhar to send her back to Hotel Malaya.

Sirul Azhar, in his unsworn written statement, said he was a “scapegoat” and also claimed that he was not at the scene of the crime on the said date and time, but was instead, having tea at Devi’s Corner in Sri Hartamas and having ‘sahur’ at Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur.
He stressed that it was also not true that Azilah had handed over Altantuya to him for her to be sent back to Hotel Malaya.
“Having heard the submissions of both the defence and prosecution and having considered and tested the defence put up by both the first and second accused persons, individually and jointly, against the totality of the evidence for the prosecution, I find that the defence of each of the accused has essentially been one of denial, of blaming one another, irreconciliable and ambivalent. Consequently, they have failed to raise any reasonable doubt on the prosecution’s case,” said Mohd Zaki.
The Court of Appeal has fixed this Friday for mention to set a date to hear an appeal filed by both Azilah and Sirul Azhar against their murder conviction.
The case has been pending for two years while awaiting the completion of the written judgment by Mohd Zaki.