Our death penalty could be hurdle to extradite Sirul from Australia

16 Jan 2015 / 14:43 H.

SEBERANG JAYA: Convicted killer Sirul Azhar Umar (pix) may escape the hangman's noose.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Malaysia may face difficulty in extraditing the former police corporal from Australia as Australian law forbids extradition of persons to face the death penalty.
Wan Junaidi said said Sirul may exploit that fact for him to avoid extradition.
He, however, said it is too early to speculate what might happen in the Australian courts.
He said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has contacted his Australian counterpart and Interpol to extradite Sirul.
"The Australian government has a good bilateral relationship with us, so morally they should return him to us.
"We can use administrative channels to get him back to Malaysia but if the other parties can use the fact that Australia does not have the mandatory death penalty, the extradition might not happen," he said in a press conference after opening the Nepali Consul-General office here today.
Police have launched a manhunt for Sirul after he failed to turn up at the Federal Court on Tuesday to face the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder verdict on him.
Immigration Department records indicated Sirul is in Australia, having gone there last year.
The Bar Council, meanwhile, said Sirul could challenge Malaysia's request to extradite him back to the country.
"If he (Sirul) gets a good legal counsel, he could challenge the request, and might not be extradited by the authorities," its Human Rights Committee co-chairperson Andrew Khoo told theSun.
Khoo said Sirul might argue that he does not want to return to Malaysia and face execution – which could be deemed "cruel and unusual" in Australia.
"This is a difficult situation," he said.
Khoo, however, said this could be an opportunity for the Malaysian government to review the death penalty.
"This is an instance where the government can rethink the policy on capital punishment.
"If the government wants to extradite Sirul for life imprisonment, the Australian government might comply with the request," he said.
Sirul and his superior, ex-chief inspector Azilah Hadri, both members of the elite police Special Action Squad (UTK), were handed the death sentence in 2009 for the murder of Altantuya three years earlier.
They were let off the hook by the Court of Appeal in 2013 following their application to overturn the High Court decision.
This led to the prosecution to counter appeal the decision with the Federal Court which on Tuesday upheld the High Court decision to hang both men for the murder of the Mongolian woman.
Azilah, who had shown up to hear the Federal Court verdict on Tuesday, has returned to prison awaiting his sentence or seek his final recourse – a pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.


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