Family of slain Mongolian seeks answer as lawsuit begins

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia (AP) – The family of a Mongolian woman murdered in Malaysia 13 years ago hopes to find answers with a lawsuit that opened in court this week, their lawyer said yesterday.

Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot dead and blown up with military-grade plastic explosives in a jungle outside Kuala Lumpur in October 2006. Her killing touched off a scandal linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, but he has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Two members of an elite police unit who were Najib’s bodyguards were convicted of killing Altantuya. Her lover Abdul Razak Baginda, a close aide to Najib, was tried but acquitted of abetting the crime, whose planner was never determined. Altantuya was 28 and pregnant at the time of her death.

There was speculation that Altantuya, who was also working as a translator for Abdul Razak, was killed to shut her up from exposing alleged corruption involving the purchase of submarines from France under Najib, who was then deputy premier and defence minister. Najib later became prime minister, until his party lost power in a shocking defeat in May last year.

The new government last year ordered investigations into her death to be reopened following appeals from Altantuya’s family. The family filed a lawsuit in 2007 seeking RM100 million (USD24 million) for the shock and trauma they suffered over her death, but the case was delayed pending conclusion of the criminal trial.

In this photo taken through frosted glass, Burmaa Oyubchineg, cousin of the murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, arrives at Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam, Malaysia yesterday. A lawyer for the family of Altantuya said yesterday that they hope to find answers with a lawsuit that opened this week. – AP

Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said Altantuya’s family wants justice for her. One of her two sons died last year, she said.

The family “wants to know who ordered her murder and we hope to get some answers from this trial,” she told The Associated Press. The lawsuit names the government, Abdul Razak and the two policemen as defendants.

Burmaa Oyubchineg, a cousin of Altantuya, testified yesterday that Altantuya and Abdul Razak were lovers since 2004. She said Altantuya had shown her photographs of a trip to Paris with Abdul Razak in 2005, including one of her taken with Abdul Razak and Najib.