The Criminal Appeals Court of Ulaanbaatar has rejected the appeal of the defendants Ts. Amgalanbaatar, D. Sodnomdarjaa and T. Chimgee who have been convicted in the assassination of a prominent democracy leader of Mongolia Sanjaasüren Zorig in October 1998, 19 years before.
The three convicted were given a sentence of 24-25 years in rigorous prison by the primary court.
Sodnomdarjaa’s mother L. Javzmaa had earlier said that his son was not guilty of any crime. “He was 22 when the assassination happened and he was helping his father stack hay. According to Bulgan, the widow of the slain leader, the male killer was 155 cm tall but my son then was over 180 cm tall, so the sentence is nothing but false charge.”
The Criminal Appeals Court of Ulaanbaatar has confirmed that the testimony by the convicts D. Sodnomdarjaa and Ts. Amgalanbaatar given during the investigation regarding the case and the facts, as well as the hand-written testament by B. Sodnomdarjaa correspond to the testimonies of the relevant witnesses, material evidences from the site of the case, notes taken during the investigation at the site of the crime, as well as the conclusions of the experts regarding bodily injuries of the victim.
“Apart from this, witnesses who were at the crime scene immediately recognized the convicted persons, which is doubly confirmed by the materials of the operational search activity,” the Criminal Appeals Court of Ulaanbaatar said and stayed the initial sentence of the primary court.
From different quarters, including from the Members of Parliament, doubts have been expressed regarding the correctness of the entire court case, as all the hearings have been held behind closed doors despite requests even by the sister of the murdered leader to make the hearings open to public.
Doubts have also been expressed regarding the entire hearings as the key witness in the case, the widow of the slain leader D. Bulgan was not present during the hearings at the primary and the appeals courts.
Ts. Nyamdorj, an MP and Vice Speaker, in his recent press briefing in the Parliament said, “The sole witness in the case, who was detained for one whole year is today neither a witness nor a victim and has not been asked to the court during the hearing. Nevertheless, these people have been convicted using the composite picture by D. Bulgan and the testimony by Ts. Amgalanbaatar… Whatever the case, it is now becoming clear as to who ordered the killing.”
While S. Bayar, the elder brother of the murdered leader, had said to the media in a recent interview, “As we understand, this killing was ordered by someone, it was organized and executed by some. Therefore, we cannot regard the case has been finally solved.”
The three sentenced and their lawyers have not given any indication that they would appeal to the final instance – the Supreme Court.