A Malaysian court has over-ruled the death sentence of two police officials - Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar, who had been convicted of murdering a Mongolian woman, and set them free.
The acquittal brings back the debate of a political conspiracy which had been looming over the murder of the then 28-year-old Mongolian woman named Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Shaariibuu was an interpreter and had allegedly been in an affair with former PM confidant Abdul Razak. According to prior investigation, the two policemen had murdered Shaariibuu and then blew up her body with military explosives.
In the high court verdict in 2009, the duo was found guilty and was sentenced to the gallows. Abdul Razak had been acquitted of murder charges.
As for the Appeal Court's verdict, the three-member judge panel found that the previous sentence had been 'misdirected' since the high court judge had failed to look into "whether the officers had access to the explosives, had any intention to kill her and were present at the time of the murder at the site where Shaariibuu's remains were found," reported Associated Press (AP).
The panel also pointed that the HC judge did not examine the credibility of the witness put forward by the prosecution and also did not take into account the 'call logs and coverage predictions.'
There is a possibility that one last counter appeal will be filed by the counsel challenging the verdict.
But many believed that the decision was a part of the conspiracy which exchanged the two police officials' freedom for their silence. Abdul Razak, who has been alleged of plotting the murder had acted as an aide to PM Najib Razak's French Sorpene Submarine deal.
However, it was a relief for the 37-yaer-old Azil Hadri's fiancé, Nur Azila, who had waited seven long years for the verdict.
"Alhamdullilah (Thanks to Allah), I am so happy. I was expecting the worst. It has been so long. Seven years, in fact. We've been through so much," Nur was quoted as saying by The Star Online.
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