PETALING JAYA: Sirul Azhar Umar will be extradited back to Malaysia within a month following a request by Putrajaya, according to British daily The Guardian.
According to the daily's sources, Australian authorities have approved the request from Malaysia to extradite the former police officer who was convicted for the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.
The Australian government had agreed to the request after Malaysia had agreed to cover the cost of extradition and had assured that Sirul would be treated fairly upon his return.
"Australia had previously refused the request on grounds that he is facing the death penalty.
"However, Malaysian authorities had assured their Australian counterparts that Sirul will receive fair treatment upon his return," the daily reported.
The daily also mentioned that any decision to extradite Sirul to Malaysia may suggest the newly elected Malaysian government's willingness in re-opening the murder case.
Sirul and his former colleague from the police's Special Action Unit, Azilah Hadri, were charged with the murder and sentenced to death in 2009 but Sirul has denied carrying out the killing, saying that he was acting on orders from his superiors and was only involved in driving Altantuya to the scene.
Altantuya, 28, was believed to have been shot dead before her body was blown to bits with explosives at a secondary forest near the Subang Dam in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam, in 2006.
Sirul alleged that Azilah was the one who murdered Altantuya. No motive for the killing was ever established and key witnesses were never called in the trial.
Sirul escaped to Australia in 2014 while out on bail during an appeal against his conviction. He was put on Interpol's red alert and arrested in Queensland for overstaying his tourist visa. He has been held in the Villawood detention centre in Sydney ever since.