Sirul’s lawyer to make statement on extradition next week

Defence lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin speaks to media after Malaysia's Federal Court reversed the acquittal of two policemen, finding them guilty of killing and blowing up a Mongolian model, in Putrajaya

(Malay Mail Online) – The lawyer for Sirul Azhar Umar, wanted by the Malaysian government for the 2006 murder of a Mongolian model, is expected to issue a statement only next week amid questions surrounding the ex-elite policeman’s extradition from Australia.

Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, who had acted as the former police commando’s counsel during the marathon trial and appeal hearing against his death sentence that ended recently, said he was unable to speak on the extradition currently despite having returned from a three-day meeting in Australia.

“Sirul is currently being detained by the Australian immigration. I and another lawyer were there pertaining to his (Sirul) matter for the last three days,” Kamarul told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had confirmed that the Malaysian police had sent in a formal extradition request to Australia through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last Friday, Kamarul told Malay Mail Online his client will need to engage lawyers qualified to practise in Australia to file a legal challenge in the Australian courts, should there be any attempt to extradite him.

Australia’s extradition legislation prohibits an individual from being sent back to another country for an offence punishable by death, unless that country pledges not to carry out a death sentence.

Earlier today, news portal The Malaysian Insider quoted Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar saying that attempts to extradite Sirul Azhar back to Malaysia may be more complicated, given the possibility that the later could be engaging his own lawyers to represent him in Australia.

“If this were to happen, a hearing in the Australian courts would take place and it will be up to the decision of the court there,” Wan Junaidi was quoted saying.

In 2006, Sirul and another former policeman, Inspector Azilah Hadri were charged with the murder of 28-year-old Altantuya Shaariibuu and convicted by the High Court in 2009.

They, however, were acquitted by the Court of Appeal in 2013, before ultimately having their freedom cut short by the Federal Court’s reversal of the decision two weeks ago.

Sirul also failed to show up at the Federal Court on January 13 when it was to decide whether he was to remain free or be sent to the gallows.

It was later reported that he was detained by immigration authorities in Queensland, Australia after Interpol issued a red notice for the former lawman over his murder conviction.

Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry had initially said that Australian authorities had released Sirul from detention while withholding his passport, but has since remained silent on his status.