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Last Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Top Malaysian murder trial opens
Abdul Razak Baginda going to court, 18/06/07
Abdul Razak Baginda is a high-profile political analyst
One of Malaysia's top political analysts, Abdul Razak Baginda, has gone on trial in connection with the murder of a young Mongolian woman.

Altantuya Shaariibuu's body was found in a jungle clearing outside the capital, Kuala Lumpur, last November.

Mr Abdul Razak, an adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, is charged with abetting the murder.

The link between the two men has prompted speculation about a possible political scandal.

Speculation

Ever since Altantuya Shaariibuu's remains were found last November, this case has enthralled Malaysians, according to the BBC correspondent in Kuala Lumpur, Jonathan Kent.

Altantuya had been shot twice in the back of the head, and her body blown up with a type of plastic explosive used by the Malaysian security services.

Najib Razak (archive image)
Mr Najib has denied any links with the murder
Two elite police bodyguards who protected top politicians, including Mr Najib, are charged with her murder. Mr Najib's former right-hand man, Mr Abdul Razak, is charged with abetment.

If Mr Abdul Razak and the two police officers are found guilty, then all three will face the death penalty.

On the opening day of the trial, the prosecution produced Balasubramaniam Kumar, a private investigator who said he was hired by Mr Abdul Razak.

He told the court his job was to stop 28-year-old Altantuya from meeting Mr Abdul Razak to blackmail him over an affair.

The prosecution says that in the end, Mr Abdul Razak turned to two members of a VIP protection squad who had guarded his mentor, Mr Najib.

The controversial trial was delayed for two weeks after the entire prosecution team was replaced at the last minute, leading some to speculate about possible political interference, our correspondent says.

Mr Najib is also defence minister, and recently he was prompted to vehemently deny opposition allegations that he was linked to the murder.




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Abdul Razak Baginda arrives at court



SEE ALSO
Malaysians charged over murder
15 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysia analyst on murder charge
16 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysia analyst held over murder
08 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Malaysia
18 Oct 06 |  Country profiles

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