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Altantuya’s father shocked over Sirul release

KUALA LUMPUR (ANN/THE STAR) – The father of murdered Mongolian model and translator Altantuya Shaariibuu has cried foul over the release of former Malaysian policeman Sirul Azhar Umar from a detention centre by the Australian government.

Mongolian film professor Dr Shaariibuu Setev’s reaction came about a week after the Australian Immigration’s decision to release Sirul and 86 other detainees following a High Court ruling that quashed indefinite detention.

On November 11, Sirul, 52, was released from the Villawood immigration detention centre in Sydney, where he had been held since 2015.

In an interview with The Australian, Shaariibuu said he was shocked that his daughter’s killer was now walking free in Australia, adding that he was “disappointed with Australia”.

He was quoted by the newspaper as saying that he had not been informed by any Australian government representative that his daughter’s killer was among the detainees freed.

“Where is the human rights for the victim’s family? We are right here, we are still alive and suffering.

“There is a Mongolian embassy in Australia, an Australian embassy in Mongolia. No one has contacted me,” he said.

Shaariibuu also asked when the Australian government would send an apology to him.

“I really wonder why Australia released a murderer,” said Shaariibuu.

“It makes me think that all the murderers of the world can go to Australia, spend time in immigration detention centres and eventually be released and become free men.”

Altantuya, a mother of two, was driven to a jungle in Selangor in 2006 and shot twice in an execution-style murder before being blown up with explosives.

Sirul, a former bodyguard of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, maintained he had abducted Altantuya on orders.

His bid for asylum in Australia was rejected in 2019.

Last December, the Shah Alam High Court ordered another former policeman, Azilah Hadri, 47, Sirul, Najib’s former associate Abdul Razak Baginda, 63, and the government – the first to fourth defendants – to pay RM5 million in damages to Altantuya’s family.

Shaariibuu and his wife Altantsetseg Sanjaa as well as their two grandsons Mungunshagai Bayarjargal and Altanshagai Munkhtulga had filed the suit in June 2007, seeking RM100 million for compensation as well as exemplary and aggravated damages.

File photo of Dr Shaariibuu Setev. PHOTO: ANN/THE STAR

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