I was born on the prairies, where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures. [GERONIMO]
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Altantuya’s annihilation – a fabulous drama
Who killed Cock Robin? I, said the sparrow. With my little bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin.
The little sparrow was obviously very honest and bold to admit it. But that was ages ago. Sorry if the younger, non-English medium school generation have not heard this.
Who killed Altantuya is the current question on the nation’s and the world’s lips.
From the drama of the killing, blasting and court case, a script emerges. The script was that if any questions are ever asked, the answers would be sharp: “What Altantuya? Who is Altantuya? There is no such person registered with the National Registration Department. There is no such person in the immigration records. There never was such a person on Malaysian soil. So don’t make wild accusations. Don’t let your imaginations run wild. Check your facts before opening your mouths.”
OK, let us look at whatever facts are available.
Altantuya had definitely come to Malaysia but her immigration records had been wiped clean. This fact was established, albeit with difficulty, during the High Court trial. These records are supposed to be maintained for a long time, if not in perpetuity.
Let’s now ask some questions about this.
1 Is the disappearance of one name from the immigration records an accidental happening? 2 Could it have happened without the knowledge of or instructions from the Director General of Immigration? 3 What was the motive for the removal of her name? 4 If he had no motive, then who had “requested” him to do so? 5 And what was the motive of the person who made such a request? 6 Whose request would he have been obliged to fulfil? 7 What would his position have been had he not complied with the request?
Another fact that was established during the trial was that C4 explosives were used to blast the body and that such explosives are used exclusively by the armed forces and are not part of the police arsenal. Now, let’s ask a few more questions about this:
1 Was any report made by the army storekeeper responsible for the safekeeping of the C4 that his store had been broken into and some C4 stolen? 2 How could such a theft occur as the armoury is a guarded place within a guarded place? (Apologies for this stupid question: weren’t two jet engines stolen from the air-force stores?) 3 Who authorised the removal of enough C4 to blast a human body into smithereens? 4 What was his motive in doing so? 5 If it was not his motive, whose “request’ was he fulfilling? 6 Had he not fulfilled the request, what would his position have been?
Nobody seems to have had any motive, and the learned judge of the High Court said motive was irrelevant and he did not have to discover the motive behind the shooting and the destruction of evidence by blowing up the body using C4 that was supplied by the army. A unique murder case, not just by Malaysian standards, but probably even by standards of the countries around the world that practice rule of law. Malaysia Boleh! This is surely fit for the World Book of Records.
Mad people do things without a motive. So Malaysians are being told and expected to believe that all those involved in erasing the immigration record, in supplying the C4, in first shooting Altantuya and then blowing her up, were all mad people. They did what they did without knowing what they were doing. But mad people do not go about planning and scheming, to destroying records and evidences of their actions.
And, what was the motive of the AG in sending up to the court a case that had not been properly investigated, that had so many loose ends, that any first year criminal law student should have been able see as a sure failure in court?
AG owes the nation an explanation
So can a man in the street be blamed for feeling that the whole judicial process was a high drama played out to placate the Malaysian and Mongolian public but with the motive of ensuring that nobody would be found guilty and sent to the gallows, as those “charged” had no motive in the first place to do what they did?
This “disappearance” of Altantuya was supposed to have been a re-play of the disappearance without trace of Jim Thompson, albeit with a material difference. He was an American businessman living in Thailand and had almost single handedly revived the Thai silk industry that was in the doldrums. For this he came to be known as the Thai Silk King. On March 26, 1967, he left Moonlight Bungalow in the Cameron Highlands where he had come for a holiday, for a walk. He was never seen again, despite a massive search operation with the help of the orang asli. Till today his disappearance remains a mystery.
In Altantuya’s case, which was not a “voluntary disappearance”, providence intervened and brought a fishing enthusiast to a stream in that jungle at that unearthly hour to enjoy his hobby. He was shaken by the bomb blasts and reported them to the police. This had not been anticipated by all the motiveless persons whose combined efforts had brought Altantuya to this spot.
The forensics police carried out their duty and were able to establish that the explosions were caused by C4 explosives. It was also established that the person blown up was Altantuya.
This must have shocked all those who had had no motive in supplying the C4, in shooting Altantuya and then in blowing her up, confident that without any trace of their motiveless actions, no questions would be asked and have to be answered.
The police forensics report was explosive and blew up the original grand plan and a new script had to be written. Now somebody had to be made scapegoats and put on trial. The easiest way to ensure a person accused of a crime, any crime, is not convicted is to leave holes or even gaping holes in the ‘evidence’ presented to the court. A court then, with a clear conscience, can free the accused for failure of the prosecution to prove a prima facie case. And there is no provision in law to charge the prosecutor for not doing his homework thoroughly. He faces no penalty if he loses his case.
In contrast to this case where it was irrefutably established that the victim’s immigration record had been tampered with and she had been shot and then blown up with C4, an explosive used solely by the country’s armed force, there was the case of Jean Perera in 1976 where the then AG was able to secure conviction on circumstantial evidence and falsehoods by a key witness who later confessed.
It is normal when there are gaps in the evidence and therefore unsafe to convict someone, especially in a capital crime case, for the courts to order a re-trial to fill up those gaps. Closing the case and setting free the accused can be very dangerous for society. Supposing they were true hardcore criminals, they would now be free to commit more crimes, confident that if they are caught again, their chances of escape are great. So in this case ordering a re-trial would have been the proper thing for the Court of Appeal to do. Why then did it free two murder accused without any interest in finding out the truth of what happened? So dear Home Minister, do not blame the repeal of the EO for the rise in violent crime.
Who decides what evidence to put before the court in a criminal prosecution if not the AG? By sending to the courts a case that had many gaping holes, it would appear that the AG’s motive was to ensure there would be no conviction as the court would find it “unsafe to convict”. Were the gaps a deliberate act to let the court jettison the case? I may be wrong, but the AG owes the nation an explanation for the half-past-six prosecution of this case.
As a layman, it comes to me that since the original plan of those without any motive to finish off Altantuya without a trace went haywire due to the police report by the lone fishing enthusiast about the mysterious explosions in the middle of the jungle in the middle of the night, the script had to be re-written to put someone on trial to show action was taken, but with the motive of merely placating the public and actually ensuring no one was found guilty of the crime.
Well, the AG now tells the world he is not satisfied with the Court of Appeal decision to release the accused and he would appeal this decision to the Federal Court. Is it for the Federal Court to fill the gaps in the evidence? Can the AG present new evidence and call the missing witnesses to give evidence and be cross-examined in the Federal Court? Will the AG provide answers to questions surrounding the immigration records and the C4 explosives? Will he show the Federal Court that the two accused had a motive to finish off Altantuya without a trace, and explain what that motive was and why they had that motive in the first place? Without answers to all these, does he expect us to believe he is genuine in his declaration of not being happy with the Court of Appeal decision? Does he expect people to be happy over his unhappiness?
And the two hooded accused whose faces the public did not get to see. How would anyone know if they had actually been moving about among the people, perhaps in a different town, instead of being in custody. If the original plan had not been spoilt by divine intervention through that fishing enthusiast, no one would have been put on trial in the first place. The two were not supposed to face any consequences for carrying out somebody’s orders, for this was not their own doing as they had nothing to do with Altantuya, and probably had not even heard of her before that.
The police forensics department was obviously not aware of the game plan and they did a good job of identifying the cause and purpose of the explosion and I say syabas to them.
I also thank God for sending that fishing enthusiast to that spot on that fateful day and at that time of night when most people are comfortably asleep. Otherwise nobody would have known anything about this sordid, most disgraceful, event in Malaysian history. God does work in mysterious ways, for man proposes but God disposes. If anything could be “takdir”, this was - that the world should know how Altantuya’s life was snuffed out in the cruelest of ways.