Former Malaysian Policeman Convicted of Murder Released in Australia

Former Malaysian Policeman Convicted of Murder Released in Australia

Sirul Azhar Umar, a former Malaysian policeman convicted in the high-profile murder of Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu, has been released from Australian detention where he has been held since 2015. Sirul and his colleague Azilah Hadri were both sentenced to death in Malaysia for their roles in the 2006 killing linked to a political scandal involving ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Sirul fled to Australia and was detained after an Interpol alert, pending the outcome of his case. His release followed a decision by Australia’s High Court against indefinite immigration detention, which has since seen the freeing of several detainees.

Currently residing with his son in Canberra, Sirul’s situation has prompted Malaysian police to consider seeking his extradition in light of Malaysia abolishing mandatory death penalty sentences in April, which opens the door for revised sentencing.

Azilah, Sirul’s co-defendant, remains on death row in Malaysia. The murder of Shaariibuu has stirred controversy for years, raising unresolved questions about who ultimately ordered her death. The victim served as an interpreter in a contentious submarine deal between Malaysia and France, which some civil groups argue was the motive for her murder. Najib, tied to the scandal during his tenure as defence minister and subsequent prime minister, has denied any involvement.

The case continues to draw attention as it intersects with issues of international law, diplomacy, and human rights, with Australian immigration authorities and Malaysian officials remaining tight-lipped following Sirul’s release.

Lou Nightingale
Author: Lou Nightingale

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