SIRUL FACES IN­DEF­I­NITE DE­TEN­TION IN AUSTRALIA

Ex-po­lice com­mando’s pro­tec­tion visa bid likely to be de­nied, says re­port

New Straits Times - - News - BEATRICE NITA JAY KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

FOR­MER po­lice com­mando Sirul Azhar Umar’s ap­pli­ca­tion for a pro­tec­tion visa is likely to be de­nied and he faces in­def­i­nite de­ten­tion in Australia.

Sirul fled the coun­try to Australia in 2014 af­ter be­ing con­victed, along with for­mer po­lice com­mando Azi­lah Hadri, of the 2006 mur­der of Mon­go­lian na­tional Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The Australian yes­ter­day re­ported that Sirul’s ap­pli­ca­tion would be de­nied on the grounds of com­mit­ting a non-po­lit­i­cal crime be­fore en­ter­ing the coun­try in Oc­to­ber, three years ago.

It re­ported that Sirul has un­til Mon­day to of­fer any ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion that may sway the deci- sion in his favour and al­low him to be re­leased into the com­mu­nity.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, a July 31 let­ter ad­dressed to Sirul at Villa­wood De­ten­tion Cen­tre said that the Im­mi­gra­tion and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion De­part­ment had re­ceived “un­favourable in­for­ma­tion which does not sup­port your ap­pli­ca­tion”, re­lated to his in­volve­ment in the mur­der of the Mon­go­lian trans­la­tor.

His in­def­i­nite de­ten­tion may cost Australian tax­pay­ers a multi-mil­lion dol­lar bill as the Australian gov­ern­ment es­ti­mates the an­nual cost of de­tain­ing a sin­gle asy­lum seeker in their coun­try at A$239,000 (RM806,000).

Sirul and Azi­lah were jointly con­victed in 2009 of Altantuya’s mur­der.

Sirul had fled for Australia af­ter the Court of Ap­peal over­turned the High Court’s de­ci­sion in 2013.

How­ever, on Jan 13, 2015, the Fed­eral Court re­stored the con­vic­tion and sen­tenced the duo to death over the mur­der.

Sirul was ab­sent dur­ing the apex court sen­tenc­ing as he had al­ready fled the coun­try.

He was ar­rested by Australian im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties and sent to Villa­wood in January 2015, af­ter his con­vic­tion was re­in­stated, and has awaited a de­ci­sion on his visa ap­pli­ca­tion since then.

Last month, Depu ty Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi said that the gov­ern­ment could not ne­go­ti­ate with the Australian au­thor­i­ties to ex­tra­dite Sirul as its laws would not de­port a fugi­tive if he would face ex­e­cu­tion upon re­turn.

The re­port also said that both Im­mi­gra­tion and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion and Sirul’s Australian lawyer, Christo­pher Lev­ingston, re­fused to re­spond to ques­tions the daily posed this week.

Sirul Azhar Umar

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