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Malaysian diplomat accused of sexual assault in New Zealand

Published on Jul 1, 2014 11:36 AM
The Malaysian High Commission office in Wellington. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A Malaysian diplomat who is said to have sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman at her home in Wellington has been recalled, but New Zealand is demanding that he be sent back to face charges there.

A Wellington High Court judge has lifted the suppression order on the diplomat. The accused has been named as Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, aged 38, a staff assistant at the Malaysian High Commission, New Zealand media reported Tuesday.

The incident has created a public outcry in New Zealand, with Prime Minister John Key saying his "preference" was for Muhammad Rizalman to be tried under New Zealand law.

He apparently followed the young woman back to her home in Brooklyn on the night of May 9 and is alleged to have assaulted her with the intent to rape.

Some reports have also linked him to burglary.

Each of the offences carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Meanwhile, Wisma Putra said at a press conference on Tuesday that Muhammad Rizalman was defence staff assistant with the rank of Second Warrant Officer.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said he would be extradited if there was a request from the New Zealand government.