MALAYSIA – Wrong for Court of Appeal to overturn sentence of life imprisonment and sentence 9 Filipinos to death.

MADPET DISAPPOINTED WITH THE COURT OF APPEAL DECISION TO SENTENCE 9 TO DEATH OVERTURNING HIGH COURT’S LIFE IMPRISONMENT SENTENCE IN THE LAHAD DATU WAGING WAR CASE

Media Statement – 11/6/2017

MADPET DISAPPOINTED WITH THE COURT OF APPEAL DECISION TO SENTENCE 9 TO DEATH OVERTURNING HIGH COURT’S LIFE IMPRISONMENT SENTENCE IN THE LAHAD DATU WAGING WAR CASE

– Individual’s sentence must be based on evidence of what they actually did in joint crimes –

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is disappointed that the Court of Appeal chose to sentence 9 Filipino men to death for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in relation to the Lahad Datu intrusion four years ago.

This case is in connection with what happened in February-March 2013, when a group, comprising over a hundred people, who were allegedly followers of self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III entered Sabah allegedly on a mission to ‘reclaim’ part of Borneo as their ancestral land. The Lahad Datu situation reportedly saw a total of 68 deaths – 56 from the Sulu sultanate, nine from the Malaysian authorities and six civilians.(Astro Awani, 30/12/2013)

Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh, who chaired the three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, overturned the natural life sentence meted out by the Kota Kinabalu High Court on July 26 2016 on these 9 men, and sentenced them to death. The other members of the panel of the Court of Appeal were Justices Abdul Rahman Sebli and Kamardin Hashim.(Star, 9/2/2017).

The nine men are Julham Rashid, 70; Virgilio Nemar Patulada @ Mohammad Alam Patulada, 53; Salib Akhmad Emali, 64; Tani Lahad Dahi, 64; Basad Manuel, 42, who is the son of the late self-proclaimed Sultan Sulu Jamalul Kiram, Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, 54; Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, 46; Al Wazir Osman @ Abdul, 62; and Ismail Yasin, 77.

It must be noted that in 2016, the trial judge, Judge Stephen Chung, at the Kota Kinabalu High Court, after hearing the case, having the benefit of hearing the witnesses and considering the evidence elected to not sentence the 9 to death, but to life imprisonment.

‘…In his judgment, Chung said there was no evidence that the accused were directly involved in the skirmishes that occurred during the intrusion, nor was there proof that they had killed any member of the security force in cold blood or injured anybody. He noted that the key persons in the intrusion, such as Datu Agbimuddin Kiram and ‘General Musa’ were not brought to justice. “It is indeed an odious task to pass the appropriate sentence for the accused convicted under Section 121 of the Penal Code. “The offence had badly affected the lives of the residents of Kampung Tanduo and those who resided in the nearby villages, as well as the families of the deceased security personnel,” he said…’(Malaysian Digest/Bernama 26/7/2016). The said 9 persons were as such sentenced not to death, but to life imprisonment by the High Court.

Of note also, is the fact that 6 or more of these persons elected to plead guilty after the High Court asked 19 of the 30 persons charged to enter their defence after prosecution managed to establish a prima facie case. The plea of guilt is generally taken as a mitigating factor when it comes to sentencing.

It was also reported that the lawyer representing these accused persons that pleaded guilty also ‘told the court that his clients had been promised jobs and identity cards by their leader, General Musa, the chief of staff of Datu Agbimuddin Kiram who was a brother of the self-styled Sulu Sultan.’ (Star, 24/2/2016). It was also reported that ‘although they admitted to being members of a terror group known as the Royal Sulu Force (RSF), they were not involved in its militant activities. He said this was consistent with their statements recorded individually before a Sessions Court judge in Lahad Datu shortly after their arrests sometime in March 2013…’

It must be pointed out that even though they may all be convicted of the same offence, when it comes to sentencing, the court is duty bound to consider the evidence adduced against each and every individual in determining the appropriate sentence for each of them.

As such, the observation of the High Court that there was ‘no evidence that the accused were directly involved in the skirmishes that occurred during the intrusion, nor was there proof that they had killed any member of the security force in cold blood or injured anybody’ is most relevant.

The atrocity of the incident itself, which involved over 100 persons, should never be sufficient to justify the imposition of an unjust sentence, especially the death penalty, on the few individuals that were caught, charged, tried and convicted.

Further, it must be reiterated that the death penalty has been shown to have no deterrent value on crimes, and vice versa, there has been no proof showing that the death penalty does in fact deters crime.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, the new de facto Law Minister, during the Parliamentary session on 2/11/2016 clarified that Malaysia was not just looking at the mandatory death penalty, but all death penalty. They were considering possibly replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment.(The Sun Daily, 3/11/2016). This fact also makes this recent decision of the Court of Appeal to impose the death penalty, coupled with the fact that many in Malaysia are for the abolition of the death penalty.

As such, MADPET calls that death sentence imposed on this 9 persons be commuted to imprisonment.

MADPET reiterates its call for the abolition of the death penalty, and that there be an immediate moratorium on all executions pending abolition.

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET

MADPET is a member of ADPAN

****

06/14/2017, 15.07

MALAYSIA

Malaysian activists against the death sentence imposed on nine Filipino Islamic militants

The defendants were involved in a violent Islamist incursion in Sabah in 2013. The ruling of the Kota Kinabalu High Court was overturned. For human rights activist, the severity of the incident “should never be sufficient to justify the imposition of an unjust sentence, especially the death penalty.” The Philippines Foreign Affairs department said the “death sentence is still not final”.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A Malaysian human rights group has slammed the country’s Court of Appeals for sentencing nine Filipino Muslims to death.
On 8 June, the three-member bench reversed an earlier decision by a lower court, which in 2016 had given
the Filipinos life imprisonment for their involvement in the Sabah incursion four years ago, and sentenced them instead to death for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia’s king.
In 2013, about 200 Islamist militants from Sulu, southern Philippines, landed in Malaysia in an attempt to claim parts of Borneo. The incursion was inspired by the self-proclaimed Filipino Sultanate of Sulu, which claims historical dominion over Sabah.
“The death penalty has been shown to have no deterrent value on crimes,” said Charles Hector of the group Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture on Monday.
Hector slammed the decision of the Court of Appeals to reverse an earlier decision by the Kota Kinabalu High Court, which had sentenced the Filipinos to life imprisonment in 2016.
Judge Stephen Chung of the Kota Kinabalu High Court had said there was no evidence that the accused were directly involved in skirmishes that occurred during the unrest.
In a statement, the Philippines Foreign Affairs department said the “death sentence is still not final,” adding that the case will still to be heard by the Federal Court of Malaysia.
The month-long Lahad Datu standoff in February 2013, killed 68 people, 56 of whom were gunmen from Sulu whilst the rest were either Malaysian security forces or civilians.
The assault was the most serious security crisis faced by Malaysia in years. But for Hector, the severity of the incident “should never be sufficient to justify the imposition of an unjust sentence, especially the death penalty. – AsiaNews.it, 1

 

Friday, 9 June 2017

Filipinos sentenced to death over Lahad Datu intrusion

Going down: The Filipinos being led away after sentencing in Kota Kinabalu. — Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: Nine Filipino men have been sentenced to death by the Court of Appeal for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in relation to the Lahad Datu intrusion four years ago.

Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh, who chaired the three-member panel, overturned the natural life sentence meted out by the Kota Kinabalu High Court on July 26 last year.
He said the case had an element of conspiracy, and that the respondents were part of the conspiracy hatched across the border to wage war against the Government and the King with intent to weaken the country from within to reclaim Sabah.

“The route from the Philippines to Sabah, the landing site at Kampung Tanduo and the different targets at Sabah were all pre-determined.

“This was an attack from a foreign enemy which is unprecedented in Malaysian history,” the judge remarked.

Justice Mohd Zawawi said the conspiracy behind the attack was as deep and large as it was vicious, and the execution was ruthless.

“The sentence imposed must reflect the condemnation of Malaysians against such a crime. We are firmly of the view that this is a fit and proper case to impose the death penalty against the respondents,” he added in delivering the unanimous decision.

The other judges on the panel were Justices Abdul Rahman Sebli and Kamardin Hashim.

The nine men are Julham Rashid, 70; Virgilio Nemar Patulada @ Mohammad Alam Patulada, 53; Salib Akhmad Emali, 64; Tani Lahad Dahi, 64; Basad Manuel, 42, who is the son of the late self-proclaimed Sultan Sulu Jamalul Kiram, Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, 54; Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, 46; Al Wazir Osman @ Abdul, 62; and Ismail Yasin, 77.

Clad in green prison garb and each escorted by two prison guards, the Filipinos showed no emotion after the verdict was delivered.

However, the panel dismissed the prosecution’s appeal against 14 men charged with waging war against the King and for terrorism-related offences.

In affirming the acquittal, Justice Mohd Zawawi said the panel was satisfied that the trial judge was right in holding that no case had been proven against the one Malaysian and 13 Filipinos.

He said the prosecution’s case against them was predicated purely on circumstantial evidence which did not point irresistibly to the fact that they were involved in the offences with which they were charged.

However, Justice Mohd Zawawi allowed the application by Deputy Head of the Appellate and Trial Division Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud for the 14 to be remanded pending filing of appeal. – Star, 9/6/2017

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/06/09/nine-get-the-gallows-for-waging-war-filipinos-sentenced-to-death-over-lahad-datu-intrusion/#YF03ZTGemFbksjRe.99

 

 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Six plead guilty to being part of terror group

by ruben sarioandstephanie lee

KOTA KINABALU: Six Filipinos who took part in the intrusion of Lahad Datu three years ago after being promised jobs and identity cards, pleaded guilty to being members of a terror group at the High Court here.

The men, who were facing various charges for their involvement in the intrusion of Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu in 2013, changed their plea and admitted to being members of a terror group under Section 130KA of the Penal Code, yesterday.

They are Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, Basad Manuel, Ismail Yasin, Virgilio Nemar Patuluda @ Mohammad, Lin Mad Salleh and Holland Kalbi. Atik, Basad, Ismail and Virgilio are also facing charges under Section 121 of the Penal Code for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Two other Filipino nationals and three Malaysians who are facing similar charges in connection with the intrusion are expected to change their pleas as well before Justice Stephen Chung today.

Two other Filipinos who were supposed to change their pleas, however changed their minds and claimed trial on the charge of being members of a terror group.

Counsel Datuk N. Sivananthan, who represented the accused, told the court that his clients had been promised jobs and identity cards by their leader, General Musa, the chief of staff of Datu Agbimuddin Kiram who was a brother of the self-styled Sulu Sultan.

In seeking a lenient sentence for his clients, he told Justice Chung that although they admitted to being members of a terror group known as the Royal Sulu Force (RSF), they were not involved in its militant activities.

He said this was consistent with their statements recorded individually before a Sessions Court judge in Lahad Datu shortly after their arrests sometime in March 2013.

Sivananthan noted that the sentence for those convicted under this section of the Penal Code was from one day in jail to life imprisonment.

He said the court should take into account the extent of the accused’s involvement in the group’s militant activities before meting out the sentence.

Senior Federal Counsel Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar urged the court to impose a maximum penalty, saying a lenient sentence would undermine and compromise Malaysia’s sovereignty.

He said the accused had admitted to being members of a terror group, adding that terrorism had become a global threat.

Noting that the trial involved the first case of an intrusion by a group of foreigners into Malaysia, Dusuki said the court decisions would be a benchmark and serve as a precedent for subsequent cases.

Justice Chung said he would read out the sentences for the accused at the end of the trial which was held at the State Prison in Kepayan near here under tight security.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/02/24/six-plead-guilty-to-being-part-of-terror-group-filipinos-involved-in-lahad-datu-intrusion-change-ple/#FVo5GcDv2oGI452W.99

Nine Filipinos Sentenced To Life Over Lahad Datu Intrusion

Published on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 15:05

Pic: AwaniKOTA KINABALU: Nine of the accused in the Lahad Datu intrusion case who were found guilty of waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong escaped the gallows when they were sentenced to life imprisonment by the High Court here today.

Judge Stephen Chung meted out the sentence on Filipinos Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, 45; Basad H. Manuel, 41; Ismail Yasin, 76; Virgilio Nemar Patulada alias Mohammad Alam Patulada, 52; Salib Akhmad Emali, 63; Al Wazir Osman, 61; Tani Lahaddahi, 63; Julham Rashid, 69; and Datu Amir Bahar Hushin Kiram, 53.

The capital punishment for the offence under Section 121 of the Penal Code was death.

In his judgment, Chung said there was no evidence that the accused were directly involved in the skirmishes that occurred during the intrusion, nor was there proof that they had killed any member of the security force in cold blood or injured anybody.

He noted that the key persons in the intrusion, such as Datu Agbimuddin Kiram and ‘General Musa’ were not brought to justice.

“It is indeed an odious task to pass the appropriate sentence for the accused convicted under Section 121 of the Penal Code.

“The offence had badly affected the lives of the residents of Kampung Tanduo and those who resided in the nearby villages, as well as the families of the deceased security personnel,” he said.

Chung also sentenced Salib Akhmad, Al Wazir, Tani, Julham and Datu Amir Bahar to 18 years’ jail each on a second charge of being members of a terrorist group, while the other four – Atik Hussin, Basad, Ismail and Virgilio – who pleaded guilty to the same offence each received 13 years imprisonment.

They were ordered to serve the jail sentences concurrently from their date of arrest.

Also convicted of being members of a terrorist group were Timhar Hadil, 39 and a local, Abd Hadi Mawan, 52, and they were sentenced to 15 years’ jail each to be served from the date of their arrest.

Chung said he considered the guilty plea of Filipinos Lin Mad Salleh, 50; Holland Kalbi, 50; and Aiman Radie, 20 for the same offence and sentenced them to 13 years’ jail each, to be served from the date of their arrest.

The offence of being a member of a terrorist group is framed under Section 130KA of the Penal Code which provides an imprisonment for life upon conviction.

Two other locals in the case who pleaded guilty to amended charges were each sentenced to 15 years imprisonment from the date of their arrest.

One of them, Pabblo Alie, 66 had pleaded guilty to soliciting property for the benefit of a terrorist group or for the commission of a terrorist act, an offence under Section 130G (c) of the Penal Code, which carries the maximum 30-year imprisonment upon conviction.

The other, Mohammad Ali Ahmad, 41 had also pleaded guilty to soliciting or giving support to a terrorist group, an offence under Section 130J (1) (a) of the Penal Code, which also carries the maximum 30-year imprisonment upon conviction.

– Bernama – Malaysian Digest, 28/7/2016

See also Astro Awani report on 26/7/2016 –Nine Filipinos sentenced to life over Lahad Datu intrusion

Lahad Datu invasion: A painful memory of 2013

Najiah Najib | December 30, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: On Feb 11, 2013, the nation was rocked by news that broke late into the night about the eastern shores of Sabah being invaded by a group of armed men.

The group, comprising over a hundred people, was quickly identified to be followers of self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu, Jamalul Kiram III. They were led by Jamalul’s brother Agbimuddin Kiram.

Hailing from Pulau Simunul of Tawi-Tawi in the southern Philippines, the group first entered Malaysian waters by boat on Feb 9 and gathered in stages at Felda Sahabat 17 in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu, as a means of ‘reclaiming’ part of Borneo as their ancestral land. This forced some eighty locals to flee from 15 homes.

Upon being discovered by fishermen, the Filipino rebels broke into smaller groups and entered several locations in the village, including Kampung Sungai Bakau.

On Feb 14, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the Malaysian government would negotiate with the group before ousting them from the area. Then Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said negotiations with the group were in progress to find the best solution without bloodshed.

Two days later, then Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein made a statement that played down the situation; the group merely comprised ‘malnourished’ and elderly men in sarongs and slippers, mostly unarmed, he said.

The tussle between Malaysia and the Philippines over Sabah had been a long-standing one. The Suluks wanted Sabah to be returned to them, claiming it was seized by the British from their government. But Malaysia had always rejected the Philippine’s territorial claim to Sabah as it deemed that Sabah residents had exercised their right to self-determination when they voted to join the Malaysian federation in 1963.

The Sulu sultanate also lost their rights in the Madrid protocol of 1885 when their predecessors Spain relinquished all their claims to Sabah, giving all control to Malaysia’s predecessors, the British.

However, it was subsequently learnt that the Malaysian Embassy in the Philippines were issuing cheques for RM5,300 to the legal counsel of the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu in keeping with the terms of an 1887 agreement. While Malaysia considered it as annual cession payment for the disputed state, the sultan’s descendants considered it as “rent”.

Many then called for the Malaysian government to reduce or stop the cession payment altogether, including former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and opposition lawyer Karpal Singh.

The first shootout between Malaysian security forces and the small group of Filipino rebels broke out on March 1 when the latter tried to break a police blockade in Kampung Tanduo. Najib confirmed that the event had left two police commandos dead while Sabah police commissioner, Datuk Hamza Taib, confirmed that 12 of Kiram’s followers were killed.

At this juncture, the Philippines government seemed to totally leave the fate of the royal Sulu army in the hands of the Malaysian security forces.

In the early hours of March 3, a group of Filipino gunmen, believed to be less than 10, ambushed the police in a village in Semporna, Sabah. The media reported that six Malaysian police officers and seven assailants were killed. It was also reported that four of the policemen had their bodies mutilated, with one beheaded.

On March 5, three F-18 and five Hawk aircraft filled the Kampung Tanduo skies in an airstrike against the Filipino rebels at dawn in an effort to flush them out. Thirteen of the Sulu gunmen were killed in the process. The deaths were confirmed by then Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Codenamed Ops Daulat, the ‘mopping up’ stage also saw ground troops going door-to-door to sniff out the intruders. However, none were caught.

Kampung Tanduo was finally secured by Malaysian forces on March 11, with the bodies of 22 Sulu gunmen recovered. Despite the deaths, the Kiram family insisted that its army stay put in Sabah and not surrender.

Between March 20 and April 1, 15 Filipino nationals were charged in court over the incursion – eight of them in the Tawau High Court while the rest in the Lahad Datu Magistrate’s Court.

A Malaysian Special Branch officer, Corporal Hassa Ali Basari, was also charged and convicted for intentionally refraining from disclosing information on terrorist acts by the Sulu gunmen in Lahad Datu.

Ops Daulat ended on June 29 when it was replaced by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM). The body is now responsible for security arrangements in the area, covering all operations from northern Kudat to south-eastern Tawau. This is to ensure that Sabah’s eastern sea borders remain safe. A 24-hour ESSCOM operations room was also announced on Aug 12.

The Lahad Datu standoff reportedly saw a total of 68 deaths – 56 from the Sulu sultanate, nine from the Malaysian authorities and six civilians.

ASEAN parliamentarians urge Duterte: Reject death penalty

 (15 Feb 2017, ABS-CBN News) Parliamentarians from the Association of South East Asian\ Nations (ASEAN) on Wednesday urged Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies at the House of Representatives to reject the re-imposition of the death penalty in the country, and to respect the Philippines’ international obligations and standing in the ASEAN as a regional leader in human rights protection.

Read more

Philippines: House of Representatives must uphold international law obligations ahead of first death penalty vote

JOINT STATEMENT

19 February 2017

Ahead of the first vote on the proposed legislative amendments to reintroduce the death penalty in the Philippines, the undersigned organizations are calling on the country’s lawmakers to uphold its international law obligations and vote against the measure. The move would set the Philippines against its positive achievements in this area and the global trend towards abolition of the death penalty.

On 20 February the House of Representatives of the Philippines is expected to vote on a Bill to reintroduce the death penalty for a wide range of offences. The move would violate the country’s intended obligations under international law. In 2007 the Philippines ratified the Second Optional Protocol of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights that categorically prohibits executions and commits the country to the abolition of this punishment. These obligations cannot be withdrawn at any time. Read more