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Court to hear ex-Malaysian leader Najib’s appeal against jail sentence

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Putrajaya (Malaysia) (AFP) – Malaysia’s highest court said on Tuesday it would hear former leader Najib Razak’s latest attempt to overturn his 12-year prison sentence for corruption, an acquittal potentially paving the way for his return to power.

The Federal Court’s decision to continue the hearing from Thursday came after rejecting the former prime minister’s request for a new trial.

“There is, in our view, no miscarriage of justice,” Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat told the court, reading a unanimous decision by a five-judge panel she leads, after two days of trial. hearings.

“We find that the plaintiff has not passed the high threshold of (the law)…In the circumstances, the motion (to admit new evidence for a new trial) is hereby dismissed. “

Najib’s lawyer requested that the court adjourn for three to four months before starting the hearing, but the panel, after some deliberation, rejected this request.

He set the hearing to begin Thursday and last eight days.

Najib, 69, has made the final appeal to the country’s highest court after his previous plea was thrown out by an appeals court last December.

He was found guilty in July 2020 of corruption related to the public fund 1MDB and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

“The stark reality is that considerable public funds would be wasted if granting an adjournment in a case of this type were an easier option,” the chief justice said.

“Justice cannot be unduly delayed. Justice delayed is also justice denied to others,” she added.

Najib and his ruling party were unceremoniously removed from office in the 2018 elections following allegations of involvement in a multi-billion dollar scandal at 1MDB.

The former prime minister and his associates have been accused of stealing billions of dollars from the country’s investment vehicle and spending them on everything from high-end real estate to expensive art.