Sirul placed in maximum security detention cell


(Agencies) – Convicted killer Sirul Azhar Umar has been placed in a maximum security cell by Australian immigration officials, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC News reported yesterday that Sirul, a former police VIP bodyguard sentenced to death for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, had been living with his son for several months.

He was taken into custody in Brisbane on Tuesday after an alert from Interpol.

Sirul Azhar is yet to speak to his family or see his lawyer.

ABC News said it was understood that Sirul, 43, had been living with his 19-year-old son and another relative in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, for several months, after entering the country with a valid passport and tourist visa last year.

It was reported that he had landed in Perth before making his way to Brisbane.

A young man named Shuk Sz, claiming to be the former police corporal’s son, posted on Facebook: “If I talk to the press, Malaysia will fall.”

Mongolian interpreter and model Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot twice in a jungle clearing near Subang and her body blown up with military-grade explosives in 2006.

The defence claimed Altantuya was present during contract negotiations over the purchase of submarines for the Malaysian navy and was murdered because she knew about alleged kickbacks to high-level government officials.

Sirul Azhar and fellow VIP bodyguard Azilah Hadri were convicted, then acquitted, before the Federal Court overturned the appeal court decision and restored the death sentence.

ABC News quoted Sirul’s Malaysian lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin as saying he would apply to the Federal Court to have Sirul Azhar’s murder conviction reviewed and would oppose a extradition request from Malaysia.

“The perennial question seems to be: why would [Sirul Azhar] murder the victim?” ABC News quoted him as saying. He said key witnesses were never called by the prosecution during the original trial, fuelling speculation of political interference in the case. “It raises questions as to what really is going on,” he said.

Australian officials would not comment on whether they had received an official Malaysian request for extradition. Australia’s police is not to allow a person to be extradited for a capital offence unless Australia is given an undertaking that the death penalty will not be carried out on the person.