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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Najib’s lawyer expects decision by UN human rights body by year’s end


Najib Razak submitted a petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Jan 5 to seek release from prison or a retrial in the SRC International case against him.

KUALA LUMPUR: A decision is expected before the year end on Najib Razak’s petition to a United Nations panel on arbitrary detention, the former prime minister’s lawyer said today.

The decision could form the basis of an application for a retrial of the SRC International case, in which Najib was convicted and sentenced to 12 years’ jail, said lawyer Shafee Abdullah.

“This case is now under review in Geneva, and I hope that soon, the attorney-general, through the foreign minister, will be invited to provide his views. There must be some preliminary opinions,” said Shafee. “A decision will then be made before the end of this year.”

Shafee was speaking at a public forum at Wisma MCA on the theme “Justice for Whom”.

He said the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is known as an active body in upholding human rights and consists of a committee with the “top legal minds at the global level”. He also said it was embarrassing that Najib needed assistance from external parties to ensure justice.

“We should have confidence in our system, but when we have to ask for help from outsiders, this is something that is embarrassing,” he said. “(But) this is not something that is being done in vain. We can use the UN’s opinion in Geneva as a platform for a second review of Najib’s case.”

Najib’s legal team had submitted a petition to the UN panel in January, seeking his release from prison or a retrial of the SRC International case. Shafee had previously argued that there was a miscarriage of justice in Najib’s trial and subsequent appeal process leading up to the Federal Court.

Najib was convicted in July 2020 on charges of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million. He was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million.

An appeal against the verdict and sentence was dismissed by both the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court, and Najib began serving his prison term on Aug 23 last year. - FMT

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