PUTRAJAYA: Nine Filipino militants involved in the 2013 Lahad Datu incursion were sentenced to death by the Court of Appeal here today.
A three-man panel, chaired by Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, made the unanimous decision after allowing the prosecution's appeal to substitute the nine men's natural-life imprisonment sentence for waging war on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The nine; Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, 54, Julham Rashid, 70, Virgilio Nemar Patulada @ Mohammad, 53, Salib Akhmad Emali, 64, Tani Lahad Dahi, 64, Basah H. Manuel, 42, Ismail Yasin, 77, Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, 46, and Al-Wazir Osman, 61, were earlier given natural-life imprisonment sentence by the Kota Kinabalu High Court on July 26, last year after being convicted and found guilty for the offence.
Their charge, under Section 121 of the Penal Code, carries the death sentence or natural-life imprisonment.
In the judgement, Zawawi said the planning of the intrusion was meticulously executed.
"The respondents (nine men) were part of a conspiracy hatched across the border to wage war against the government of Malaysia and/or the King, to dictate its foreign relations with other countries, with intent to weaken the country from within so that they could reclaim Sabah," he said.
He added that the ruthless attack by foreign enemies is unprecedented in the country.
"For the above reasons, we allow the appeal and set aside the sentence imposed by the High Court against the respondents and substitute it with the death penalty against each of the respondents," Zawawi said in delivering the verdict.
The other judges who presided were Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli and Datuk Kamardin Hashim.
Earlier, the three-man panel had also dismissed the appeal by the nine men against their conviction of waging war during the armed intrusion in Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu between Feb 12 and April 10, 2013.