Afghan loses death penalty appeal over French deaths

Updated 19 November 2012
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Afghan loses death penalty appeal over French deaths

KABUL: A military court has rejected an appeal by an Afghan soldier sentenced to death for killing five French troops in an insider attack in January, an official said Monday.
So-called green-on-blue attacks have spiraled this year, with a total of 61 NATO troops killed by members of the Afghan security forces, fueling distrust between the allies in the war against Taleban Islamist insurgents.
The French casualties prompted France to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan earlier than planned.
Afghan army soldier Abdul Sabor was convicted in July of killing the soldiers on January 20 while they were jogging within their base in Kapisa province in eastern Afghanistan.
Sabor is the only Afghan convicted of carrying out such an attack to have been sentenced to death.
“The appeal court has confirmed the decision made by the primary court — his appeal was rejected,” defense ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi said.
The case will now be automatically reviewed by a higher court, and Sabor, who was 21 at the time of the attack, will have the right to appeal to President Hamid Karzai for clemency.
The decision to put France on a fast-track exit timetable sparked concern among some members of the US-led military coalition, which is not due to end its combat mission until the end of 2014.


Malaysia reopens grisly murder case linked to former PM Najib

Updated 12 min 10 sec ago
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Malaysia reopens grisly murder case linked to former PM Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have reopened an investigation into the grisly murder of a young Mongolian woman in 2006 which has been linked to the country’s ousted leader, reports said Friday.
Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot dead and her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives near Kuala Lumpur.
The murder was the most shocking aspect in a scandal involving allegations that an associate of recently toppled Prime Minister Najib Razak arranged huge kickbacks for the purchase of French submarines in 2002.
The case captivated Malaysia for years and there have long been allegations that Najib — defense minister at the time of the deal — and his wife Rosmah Mansor were involved. They have steadfastly denied the claims.
Two government bodyguards were convicted of the killing and sentenced to death. One subsequently fled to Australia, where he is in detention, and maintains he was ordered by “important people” to carry out the murder.
Altantuya’s father visited Malaysia this week. He met new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who backed re-opening the investigation, and lodged a fresh police report about the murder.
“I can confirm we are reopening investigations,” national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun was cited as saying by The Star newspaper.
“We will conduct our duties without fear or favor.”
Eric Paulsen, head of local rights group Lawyers for Liberty, said that Najib should be among the new witnesses to be interviewed by the police.
“We want to know why Altantuya was killed and who ordered her killing,” he said.
Malaysians broke the six-decade stranglehold on power of Najib’s coalition at elections last month, and voted in a reformist alliance headed by 92-year-old Mahathir.
Altantuya was the mistress of Najib’s associate, Abdul Razak Baginda, and was alleged to have demanded a cut in the submarine deal for translating during negotiations.
Abdul Razak was cleared in 2008 of abetting the murder.
The bodyguard who fled to Australia, Sirul Azhar Umar, recently said he is willing to assist any new government investigation into the case, a potential major breakthrough.