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Malaysian prosecutors are asking the court to uphold ex-leader Najib’s prison sentence

#Malaysian #prosecutors #court #uphold #exleader #Najibs #prison #sentence

Prosecutors on Friday asked Malaysia’s highest court to uphold former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s 12-year sentence on corruption charges as they closed their case, saying his “dishonesty had been found”.

On the second day of the federal court hearing, prosecutors continued their arguments, although Najib claimed he would not receive a fair trial.

Najib, 69, has made a final, high-stakes appeal that could see him jailed or acquitted and attempt to return to power.

At the start of Friday’s hearing, Najib’s lead lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, told the court that the former leader had fired part of his defense team – the latest development in a week marked by dramatic turns.

Hisyam himself asked to be released from the case on Thursday, but was denied.

Two days earlier, the court also dismissed his appeal for a three- to four-month sabbatical to help him prepare for the case, given his recent appointment.

Chief Justice Maimun Tuan Mat ordered the case to continue in all three instances, prompting Najib to complain that he was not given a fair trial.

Maimun has said that any delay in proceedings is a waste of public funds and that “justice delayed is justice denied to others”.

Najib and his ruling party were voted out in 2018 after they were accused of being involved in a multi-billion dollar financial scandal at sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

He and his associates have been accused of stealing billions of dollars from the country’s investment vehicle and spending it on everything from high-end real estate to expensive art.

After a lengthy High Court trial, Najib was found guilty of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust for transferring 42 million ringgit ($10.1 million) from former 1MDB entity SRC International to his personal bank account .

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison in July 2020, although he did not go to prison during the appeals process.

An appeals court last December dismissed his appeal, prompting him to file a final challenge in federal court.

– “dishonesty found” –

Najib “had raised no reasonable doubt about the charges and should therefore… be convicted,” prosecutor V Sithambaram told a five-judge panel on Friday as he closed the case for the government.

“The complainant’s dishonesty was found,” he said.

He added that Najib’s allegation that he did not know the origin of the funds and was the victim of manipulation by some of his associates “is an afterthought to avoid criminal liability.”

When asked by the chief justice if he would present a rebuttal, defense attorney Hisyam repeatedly said he would not make any submissions.

Lawyers with knowledge of the case told AFP the court will resume Tuesday next week to ask the defense attorney again if he wants to argue the case.

If no rebuttal is provided, the court could base its decision on arguments presented by Najib during his earlier pleadings before the appeals court, said the lawyers, who asked not to be named.

Najib said Thursday he objected “strongly” to how the court forced his lawyer to continue despite wanting to be fired, effectively leaving him without adequate legal counsel.

“My rights to life, liberty and a fair trial are at stake,” he said.

Hearings were scheduled to last until August 26, but the defense’s refusal to plead its case could shorten the schedule.

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#Malaysian #prosecutors #court #uphold #exleader #Najibs #prison #sentence

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