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Friday, February 27, 2015

PUTRAJAYA 'BUYING' SIRUL'S SILENCE? Govt mulls commuting death sentence - Zahid

PUTRAJAYA 'BUYING' SIRUL'S SILENCE? Govt mulls commuting death sentence - Zahid
PUTRAJAYA - Malaysia is mulling the option of commuting former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar's death sentence to life imprisonment to facilitate his extradition.
The move by way of the extradition treaty between Malaysia and Australia, would also allow for a prisoner exchange to take place.
It has been reported that the extradition treaty between the two countries is not valid in Sirul's case as Australia does not recognise the death penalty.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this strategy might facilitate the return of Sirul.
"Yes, (it is) a possibility," he told the media after receiving a courtesy call from Australian Immigration and Border Security Minister Peter Dutton here today.
Dutton who only assumed the portfolio last December, was taken by surprise by the barrage of questions posed to him on Sirul's status.
"Is it because of my portfolio? I'm only here to visit my good friend," Dutton said.
Declining to take questions on the Sirul issue, Dutton explained that this was due to Australia's stringent privacy laws.
Pressed further, he said the legal process in Australia may take some time.
He also evaded answering questions on whether he knew of the planned teleconference between Sirul and PAS Information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar.
However, he said, subject to the country's rule of law, without specifying the government's person of interest, an individual may call if he or she had a visa.
He declined to state if Sirul possessed the pertinent document or if he had met him.
A local news portal reported on Jan 21 that following Sirul's arrest, he would have to undergo a court process before a decision is made on his possible extradition to Malaysia.
Queen's Counsel Mark Trowell said Australian law dictates that Malaysia must make a formal application for an arrest warrant. The warrant, he added, would be issued only if the magistrate in Australia is satisfied that the person can be extradited.
"If the person is determined to be eligible for surrender then it falls to the AG to decide whether the person should actually be surrendered. That's when the issue of the death penalty becomes relevant," he reportedly said. - Sundaily

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