Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Altantuya poser: 'She got visa for France in KL'
Can a Mongolian national be issued a visa to enter France while in Malaysia?
The answer is no, says a Foreign Ministry official from Mongolia, who is puzzled that Altantuya Shaariibuu obtained such a visa when in Malaysia - about one or two years before she was brutally killed.
The officer, who was in Malaysia with Setev Shaariibuu (left), the father of the murdered translator Altantuya, said Mongolians must apply for, and obtain, foreign visas in their own country, not abroad.
"There is no way anyone of us can get a visa while in another country. We will be told to return to our country to apply for it," the officer, who did not want to be named, told Malaysiakini.
At a meeting with human rights group Suaram on Monday, Setev had expressed bewilderment that his daughter's visa to enter France had been issued in Malaysia.
"Altantuya told me that she had obtained the visa and would be travelling to Germany before going to France," he said in the presence of Suaram activists, including its director Cynthia Gabriel.
"My daughter told me that Razak (Altantuya's companion - political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda) had requested the assistance of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak (then deputy prime minister and defence minister), and she was issued a visa under the name Amina Abdullah," he claimed.
"All these happened sometime between 2004 and 2005, before her death in 2006," Setev added.
Setev also claimed that Razak tried to obtain a visa for Altantuya to enter Britain through his contact at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.
He said Altantuya told him that Razak's contact at the high commission had agreed to help her, but then she left Malaysia before she could get the visa.
Who was Amina?
During the 2007 murder trial of the two police officers who were charged with killing Altantuya, the name ‘Amina' cropped up as one of her ‘names' and speculation then was that Altantuya had married Razak and converted to Islam.
However, Setev had at that time refuted the claim, saying Mongolian parents would sometimes address their eldest or first-born child as ‘Amina', which means "my life, my own".
Setev was on a three-day visit to Malaysia to seek closure to his daughter's murder and has been pleading for an end to delays to a RM100 million civil suit he filed in 2007 for sufferings incurred by his family as a result of Altantuya's (right) untimely and cruel death.
He has named Razak, the two police officers who were subsequently convicted of murdering Altantuya - Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar - and the Malaysian government as respondents in his suit.
Razak was acquitted of abetting in Altantuya's murder without his defence being called, and the fact that the Attorney-General's Chambers did not file an appeal on this matter raised eyebrows.
Following Razak's acquittal, human rights NGO Suaram filed a case against French shipbuilder DCNS for allegedly paying kickbacks to top Malaysian officers.
The commissions were said to be for the purchase of two Scorpene submarines by Malaysia in an RM7.3 billion deal inked in 2002 when Najib was defence minister.
Setev has agreed to be a witness in the case, which he claimed is linked to his daughter's grisly murder. The court case has recently opened in France with two investigative magistrates being appointed.
Get Burmaa to testify
Setev also said that the French court should subpoena Altantuya's friend Burmaa Oyinchimeg, who was a witness in the murder trial of the police officers Azilah and Sirul, whose appeal against their conviction and death sentence is set for hearing in August.
Burmaa (centre in photo), who was the prosecution's sixth witness, caused a stir during her testimony when she said she had seen a photograph of Altantuya with Najib and Razak.
Najib has denied ever knowing or having met Altantuya, but Setev had insisted yesterday that he had also seen "with his own eyes" a photograph of Altantuya, Najib and Razak.
However, he said at his meeting with Suaram, Burmaa began fearing for her life after she testified in the Malaysian court and has since fled Mongolia.