Malaysian shopkeeper pleads not guilty to French woman's murder
A Malaysian shopkeeper pleaded not guilty to murdering a French woman on an island resort after she refused to have sex with him, his lawyer said as the trial opened Thursday.
Stéphanie Foray, a 30-year-old civil servant, went missing on the resort island of Tioman off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia last May.
Her remains were found buried in a cave in August.
Asni Omar, 37, who ran a shop selling beach gear on the island, has been charged with murder and went on trial in the town of Kuantan.
Foray had been drinking with Asni, who is suspected of later killing her after she spurned his advances, media reports quoted police sources as saying last year.
If found guilty by the court Asni faces death by hanging.
His lawyer, Ibrahim Kamaruddin, said Thursday that his client insists he is innocent.
Some of Foray's relatives were present in the court for the start of the trial.
Foray had arrived in Malaysia last May on a trip through several countries.
She took a ferry to Tioman five days later and disappeared shortly afterwards.
Violent crime against tourists and other foreigners in Muslim-majority Malaysia is rare.