Not many can understand what it is like to be surrounded by bodyguards 24 hours a day in a secluded hotel, without the comfort and love of family and friends. He is escorted everywhere to ensure his life is out of danger. But I am not afraid of my life, he says. “I have lost the most valuable thing in my life, what is there to be afraid of?”.
Indeed, how many can understand what it must be like to be waiting and waiting, and praying that there will be no more waiting?
Yet, Altantuya’s father, Mr Stev Shariibuu, maintains a cheerful demeanour, as he speaks about a trial that seems as elusive as the justice he seeks for his daughter.
“Six months back we were told that the trial will be on June 4. We were told to be present in Malaysia. But now that we are here, it is again postponed,” he said. “If they (courts) are not ready, why ask us to come?”
“If they are not ready, why not let the International courts handle this case?”
Shariibuu continues to feel crushed at the postponement of the trial, which was supposed to be heard on June 4, but is now forwarded to Monday, June 18. “We are not toys or games to play. They have underestimated me and the people of Malaysia”.
He added that the three other witnesses, including himself, were human beings, not toys.
“This is a violation of human rights. This is stressful,” he sighed. “I am tired, and recently my blood pressure was very high”.
Shariibuu stressed that the trial should start on June 18, after being postponed for two weeks, without any further delay. “If on the 18th, the trial is again postponed, it is very clear there is interference in this case”.
“This case is definite, there are no secrets. There is nothing hidden. Everything is clear. There is nothing to search or look for. My daughter is dead. The police had issued me a letter confirming her death,” he added.
He warned that the public would lose confidence in the judiciary if the trial continues to be postponed.
“If there is a long queue in the hospital, and someone at the last row faints, what would we do?” he querried, using this metaphor to explain the seriousness of his daughter’s murder case.
“The case should be finalised as soon as possible. My two grandsons are waiting for me”. He is left with Atantuya’s legacy – nine year old Mugunshagai and four year Altanshagai who is suffering from a rare disease. Despite various treatment, Altanshagai cannot walk.
He said he was not asking for money, power or position but honesty and compassion. The RM100 million suit he filed against the three accused and the government of Malaysia was to ensure that his grandson’s well-being. “Like after the war, there is reconstruction”.
“Life goes on, no matter what happens. My grandsons are growing”.
Shariibuu visited SUARAM’s office in Petaling Jaya yesterday, meeting friends who pledged their solidarity and support for his plight. He was accompanied by two bodyguards and his lawyer Bayar Puredorj, who is in Malaysia to monitor the case for the government of Mongolia as well as for the civil society groups.
He said most of Altantuya’s bones remain with the authorities as evidence, but due to this, his family could not organise a proper burial for his daughter. It could only be done after the trial (but when will the trial be over?)
“Have you seen anyone conduct a burial ceremony three or four times? My grandsons are always asking for their mom,” he said, looking pensive, obviously missing his family back home.
Meanwhile, Shariibuu continue to clamour for a free, fair and independent trial. “No one is above the law,” he says. He still awaits some kind of response from the government as the various letters he sent fell on deaf ears.
Silence is golden, they say, but not for Mr. Shariibuu. He is also miffed with the local mainstream media, adding that he cannot imagine why they did not publish his statement in full, although he added later that he understood their predicament as he was himself a journalist and studied journalism in Mongolia.
His came to the conclusion that he would rather speak to the International and alternative press after a recent experience with journalists at Karpal Singh’s office in Puduraya last week.
“I called them aside and said please publish my statement in full, but it was not (published),” he lamented. “If they could not open the curtain, just switch on the lights”.