The Malaysian Bar is disturbed to read of the revelations contained in Azilah Hadri’s statutory declaration as reported by the media.
Such revelations, which implicate the former prime minister and others and made at this stage of proceedings, are damning and shocking, not only with regard to the personalities involved but also the perception of Malaysia and our justice system internationally.
Azilah, along with Sirul Azhar Umar, were both charged and convicted by the Federal Court for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu on 13 January 2015. Azilah has been on death row since then and recently submitted an application to the Federal Court for review. The entire case thus far has been shrouded in mystery.
There are no limitations for criminal investigations. The truth in this case must emerge. There cannot be any cover-ups or attempts to shield or conceal any evidence or facts. All effort must be made to conduct a comprehensive investigation into all the facts and circumstances of the crime, and all such evidence must be tendered and tested in court.
There should not be room for questions or doubts as the standard of proof required of the prosecution is that they establish their case beyond reasonable doubt.
The fact that there can still be room for questions and doubts in this case and possibly in most criminal cases is what drives the Malaysian Bar to vehemently oppose the death penalty. Where the system is susceptible to flaws, it is wholly unacceptable for this margin of error to be paid for with the cost of human lives.
The Malaysian Bar calls on all relevant authorities to do what is necessary to address these revelations.
Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor is president of the Malaysian Bar
This piece dated 18 December 2019 is reproduced from here and has been edited for style only.