SHAH ALAM, 31 Oct 2008: The High Court today acquitted political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda and called for the defence of Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar in the murder trial of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin ruled that the prosecution had failed to make out a prima facie case against Abdul Razak.
He set 10 Nov for Azilah and Sirul Azhar, both members of the Special Action Squad (UTK), to make their defence.
Azilah, 32, and Sirul Azhar, 36, are charged with murdering Altantuya, then 28, at a location between lots 12843 and 16735 in the Mukim of Bukit Raja here between 10pm on 19 Oct 2006 and 1am on 20 Oct 2006.
Abdul Razak, 48, executive director of the Malaysia Strategic Research Centre, was charged with abetting in the murder in Kuala Lumpur between 9.54am on 18 Oct 2006 and 9.45am on 19 Oct 2006.
The charges carry the death penalty upon conviction.
Azilah and Sirul Azhar opted to testify under oath in making their defence. The other options are to give a statement from the dock or to remain silent.
The court took 151 days from 4 June last year to hear the testimonies of 84 prosecution witnesses. It adjourned its decision to today after the prosecution concluded its case on 23 June this year.
Azilah was represented by counsel Datuk Hazman Ahmad and J Kuldeep Kumar, Sirul by counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, Hasnal Redzua Merican and Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, and Abdul Razak by counsel Wong Kian Kheong.
Deputy public prosecutors Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah, Noorin Badaruddin, Manoj Kurup and Hanim Rashid appeared for the prosecution.
Lawyers Karpal Singh, Sangeet Kaur Deo and Ram Karpal Singh held a watching brief for Altantuya’s family.
Altantuya, who had two sons aged four and 10, attended high school in Russia and trained as a teacher and translator in English and Russian at the National University of Mongolia.
Her murder has been described as most gruesome because her body was blown up with explosives. Forensic experts found pieces of flesh and bone scattered over an area in Puncak Alam here.
The case received wide coverage because Altantuya reportedly came to Malaysia to look for Abdul Razak who had an affair with her. — Bernama