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Saturday, February 28, 2015

NAJIB'S WINNING CARD? ‘AG has powers to commute Sirul's death sentence'

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and the Selangor Pardons Board have the powers to commute convicted murderer Sirul Azhar Umar's death sentence to life imprisonment.
The difference between the two is that the AG can do it without waiting for an appeal from Sirul while the Pardons Board would first require Sirul or his representatives to submit an appeal.
A senior criminal lawyer who did not wished to be named said the matter need not be referred back to the Federal Court as proceedings at the apex court have already ended.
“The AG has the power to commute a death sentence to life imprisonment. He has that discretion to do this and it need not go through the court given that the Federal Court has already made a decision.
Yesterday, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was quoted as saying that the government was considering commuting Sirul's death sentence to life imprisonment to facilitate his extradition.
The lawyer was asked to comment on the current imbroglio involving fugitive former cop Sirul - who together with ex-chief inspector Azilah Hadri - was sentenced to death by the Federal Court on Jan 13 for the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Same for Azilah, too
Zahid Hamidi
Sirul and Azilah had been earlier acquitted by the Court of Appeal after which Sirul left for Australia.
He was there when the Federal Court delivered its decision reversing the appellate court’s verdict. A warrant of arrest was immediately issued and Sirul was arrested by Australian police in Brisbane on Jan 21.
Sirul is currently being detained in an immigration facility in Villawood, Sydney where he has threatened to reveal to the international media who is actually behind the Altantuya murder.
Malaysian authorities are in a fix as their extradition request for Sirul cannot be entertained by Australia whose laws prohibit the deportation of persons facing the death sentence in their home countries.
“The other option for Sirul is, of course, for his lawyer to seek a royal pardon, in this case from the Selangor sultan,” said the lawyer.
The senior lawyer said if the government was considering commuting Sirul's death sentence to life, then the AG should also do the same for Azilah.
“It is only right and fair for Azilah to be given the same if Sirul's sentence is reduced,” the lawyer pointed out. - M'kini

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