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Najib’s lawyer expects decision by UN human rights body by year’s end

Najib Razak submitted a petition to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on Jan 5 to seek release from prison or a retrial in the SRC International case against him.

KUALA LUMPUR: Najib Razak’s lawyer expects a decision on the former prime minister’s petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) to be obtained before the end of the year.

Speaking at a forum here, Shafee Abdullah said the decision on the petition could form the basis of an application for a second trial for Najib in his SRC International case.

“This case is now under review in Geneva, and I hope that soon, the attorney-general, through the foreign minister, will be invited to provide his views. There must be some preliminary opinions,” said Shafee.

“A decision will then be made before the end of the year.”

Shafee was speaking at a public forum at Wisma MCA titled “Justice for Whom”.

In January, Najib submitted a petition to the UNWGAD seeking a release from prison or retrial of his SRC International case.

Shafee previously maintained that Najib’s appeal in the Federal Court had “serious defects” and went against the “rules of international justice”.

Najib was convicted in July 2020 on charges of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.

He was sentenced to 12 years’ jail and fined RM210 million.

The former Umno president began serving his prison term on Aug 23, 2022 after the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal, followed by the Federal Court upholding the original conviction and sentence.

Stating that UNWGAD is known as an active body in upholding human rights and consists of a committee with the “top legal minds at the global level”, Shafee today said it was “embarrassing” that Najib needed assistance from external parties to ensure justice.

“We should have confidence in our system, but when we have to ask for help from outsiders, this is something that is embarrassing,” he said.

“(But) this is not something that is being done in vain. We can use the UN’s opinion in Geneva as a platform for a second review of Najib’s case.”