The French Dinner
In October 2006 a 28-year-old Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, was murdered in a remote region of Malaysia. The murder attracted a great deal of attention in the media, both because of the brutal nature of the crime (after being killed, her body was blown apart with high-grade military explosives), and because Shaariibuu was connected to some prominent political figures.
Two members of the Malaysian special police force were charged with her murder, and Abdul Razak, an influential defense analyst, was charged with abetment. Shaariibuu had worked as a translator for Razak and was romantically linked to him. But during the trial, witnesses claimed that Shaariibuu had also known Najib Razak, Malaysia's deputy prime minister. Najib Razak insisted he had never met Shaariibuu, but in court Shaariibuu's cousin claimed to have seen a photo of Najib Razak, Abdul Razak, and Shaariibuu having dinner together at a restaurant in France.
A few days later (on July 2, 2007), one of Malaysia's opposition politicians, Tian Chua, posted a photo on his website that appeared to be the one described by Shaariibuu's cousin. It showed Najib Razak (center), Abdul Razak and a woman resembling Altantuya Shaariibuu sitting together at a restaurant.
Najib immediately protested that the photo was fake and accused Tian of using unethical tactics to defame him. Tian admitted the photo was fake, but argued he was merely trying to provoke Najib into being more forthcoming about his connection to the case.
Links and References
Politician under probe for slander in posting fake photo of Malaysia's No. 2. (July 11, 2007). The Associated Press.
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