KUALA LUMPUR: The extradition process for former Special Action Force (UTK) member Sirul Azhar Umar cannot be carried out because he has been sentenced to death in the country, while Australia does not recognise the punishment, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said.
Saifuddin Nasution said Sirul Azhar who was found guilty of the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, can only be brought back if the sentence against him meets the principle of dual criminality, meaning having the same punishment in both Malaysia and Australia.
“Although Malaysia has extradition treaties with several other countries including Australia, there is a difference there.
“…with Australia, it is the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002, but the principle of dual criminality also applies in this act,“ he told a press conference in Parliament today.
As such, he said Sirul Azhar has the right, through his lawyer, to submit an application for a review of the sentence imposed on him in line with developments in Malaysia, which has abolished the mandatory death penalty this year.
“He can certainly submit this application. If everything has been done, only then will we know if there is a change in the sentence (against Sirul Azhar),“ he said.
When asked whether Sirul Azhar has submitted an application to review his sentence in this country, Saifuddin Nasution said he has no information on the matter.
Earlier, it was reported that Sirul Azhar was released from the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney, Australia, on Nov 11.
Sirul Azhar, convicted of the murder of Altantuya in 2006, was released after nine years in the custody of the Australian Immigration authorities, since 2015.
His release came following the decision of the country’s High Court on Nov 8, which ruled that non-citizen detainees who cannot be deported cannot be held indefinitely by immigration authorities.
In 2009, the Shah Alam High Court sentenced Sirul Azhar and Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri to death for the murder of Altantuya.
On Aug 23, 2013, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeals of Azilah and Sirul Azhar and acquitted them of the charge.
However, on Jan 13, 2015, the Federal Court overturned the decision to acquit Sirul Azhar and Azilah, reinstating the death sentence imposed by the High Court.
Sirul Azhar was absent from the court to hear the verdict as he was in Australia. Following this, the Federal Court issued a warrant for his arrest.
He was later arrested by Australian immigration officers after Interpol issued a red notice, and he was detained at the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney.-Bernama