PUTRAJAYA: Nine Filipinos should be sentenced to death for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as they had played active roles in the 2013 Lahad Datu (Tanduo) armed intrusion to claim Sabah by force, the Court of Appeal heard Wednesday.
Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the men were foreigners who had intruded Sabah to claim the state as theirs.
“There is evidence they sympathised, encouraged, instigated and supplied information among them,” he submitted before a three-man panel of the appellate court on the second day of the appeal hearing.
He said there were negotiations between the Malaysian security forces and the armed group at Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu but it went sour.
Wan Shaharuddin said the men chose not to adhere to instructions from the Malaysian authorities to leave Sabah; instead they were ready for bloodshed and war.
The men were Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, 54, the son of the late self-proclaimed Sultan of Sulu Esmail Kiram, Julham Rashid, 70, Virgilio Nemar Patulada @ Mohamad Alam Patulada, 53, Salib Akhmad Emali, 64, Tani Lahad Dahi, 64, Basad H. Manuel, 42, Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, 46, Al-Wazir Osman, 62, and Ismail Yasin, 77.
The prosecution is cross-appealing the decision of the Kota Kinabalu High Court last year in sentencing the nine men to natural life sentences.
At the same time, the nine men are also appealing against their conviction for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during the armed intrusion in Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu between Feb 12 and April 10, 2013.
During the incursion, nine members of the Malaysian security forces were killed.
Earlier in the proceedings, deputy public prosecutor Awang Armadajaya Awang Mahmud, who is also the deputy head of the Appellate and Trials Division in the Attorney-General’s chambers submitted that this was not a case where a village boy punched and killed another villager boy.
He said it was a case that could result in war between two countries and involved the country’s sovereignty and its people, thus national security was vital or else there would be chaos in the country.
Awang Armadajaya said the appeal proceeding of the case was held in Putrajaya for security reasons.
Lawyer N. Sivananthan argued that the convictions of his nine clients cannot stand because the trial judge had applied the wrong burden of proof in convicting them.
“The trial judge was under the wrong impression since they had pleaded guilty to the charge of being a member of a terrorist group and therefore they must have participated in waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” he said.
On Tuesday, the nine men were among 16 accused who withdrew their appeals against their jail sentences of between 13 years and 18 years on charges of terrorist-related offences including being a member of a terrorist group.
Sivananthan said there was no positive evidence to implicate his clients for waging war, adding that it cannot be assumed that they were the armed intruders because they pleaded guilty to being members of the group.
Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh who chaired the panel adjourned the proceedings to Thursday for decision on the appeals.
“Perhaps we can deliver the verdict tomorrow (Thursday). If we cannot, we will announce (tomorrow) for another day to be fixed for the decision,” he said.