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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 prison sentence on corruption charges, saying his “dishonesty had been found”.

On the second day of the federal court hearing, prosecutors proceeded with their case, 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 attorney, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, told the court that the former leader had fired part of his defense team.

There was a brief silence while Najib, wearing a face mask, was seen looking down.

However, Chief Justice Maimun Tuan Mat calmly ordered the prosecutors to “proceed” with their arguments.

Maimun had previously said that any delay in the process would be 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.

Najib 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.

Najib “had raised no reasonable doubt about the charges and should therefore… be convicted,” prosecutor V. Sithambaram told the court.

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

He added that Najib’s claim that he doesn’t know the source of the funds is “an afterthought to avoid criminal liability.”

Hisyam, the defense attorney, also asked the court to release him on Thursday because of insufficient time to prepare the case, but the judges refused.

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

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

Sankara Nair, a lawyer who was not involved in the hearings, told AFP on Friday that the actions of Najib’s defense appeared to be intended “to frustrate the court’s proceedings”.

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