M'sian accused in NZ sexual assault to be tried at home
The Malaysian diplomatic aide accused of sexually assaulting a woman will be tried in Malaysia, reported The Star this morning.
Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, a warrant officer in the Malaysian army, is accused of burglary and sexual assault against a 21-year-old woman. Though arrested in New Zealand in May, his identity was only revealed yesterday (July 1).
He is now set to face a board of inquiry set up by the Defence Ministry and may face a court-martial.
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein took to his Twitter account yesterday to assure all parties that "stern action will be taken without fear or favour", reported The Star.
"Under my leadership at @1MinDef, anyone who is in the wrong will not be above the law," he tweeted, later adding that if Muhd Rizalman is found guilty he "must face the consequences".
Earlier, conflicting accounts had emerged over whether New Zealand had allowed Muhd Rizalman to leave.
Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said in a press conference that Malaysia would have waived diplomatic immunity for Muhd Rizalman, but New Zealand had offered to let the accused be sent back home, reported The Star.
In response, the New Zealand government released documents showing it had asked for diplomatic immunity for Muhd Rizalman to be waived so that he could be prosecuted in New Zealand.
One News reported that Malaysia had refused, and had instead asked for the accused's police file be sealed and for all charges to be dropped before he left the country.
Later, New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully clarified the conflicting accounts, saying that Malaysia had "acted entirely in good faith", and that the confusion arose from "informal communications" between officials of the two countries, reported The Malay Mail.
Sources: The Star, One News, The Malay Mail