PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Australian Immigration Department on Friday denied approval for a tell-all interview to former Malaysian police commando Sirul Azhar Umar, over the 2006 murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.
According to an Australian news portal, The Age, Sirul, who is currently being detained at the Villawood detention centre in Sydney, had told a local news portal that he was negotiating with Australian television stations for a politically explosive interview.
The Age quoted Immigration Department spokesman Peter Dutton as saying that the Department does not facilitate interviews within detention facilities for operational reasons. The spokesman said that Sirul would need top-level approval to record a media interview in the maximum security unit where he has been held since being arrested in Queensland on Jan 20.
According to the report, Dutton did not rule out the possibility of an interview in the future if proper application processes were met.
Sirul had failed to appear in the Malaysian Federal Court, which sentenced him and former chief inspector Azilah Hadri, 38, to death for the murder of 26-year-old Altantuya.
The former police commando had fled to Australia to live with his relatives before he was sentenced to death, and was later arrested by the Interpol in Queensland.
Sirul now faces an indefinite detention as Australia had said it would not allow him to be extradited unless the Malaysian Government agreed to not execute him upon his return.