PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court today upheld the death sentence meted out against nine militants who were behind the deadly 2013 Lahad Datu intrusion.
The five-man panel, chaired by Chief Justice Tun Rauf Sharif, made the unanimous decision and upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision, which had substituted the nine men’s natural-life imprisonment sentence for waging war on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The nine were 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.
Heavily-armed police officers were seen guarding the Palace of Justice here as the accused were ushered into the courtroom.
Several parts of the court compound were cordoned off to the members of the media and the public to facilitate the movement of the high-profile convicts.
Reporters from various media agencies had begun camping at the court early in the morning for a picture of the nine, who arrived at 8.45am, heavily guarded by Prisons Department officers and policemen.
The nine were charged under Section 121 of the Penal Code, which carries the death sentence or natural-life imprisonment.
In reading out the judgment, Raus said the decision was made based on concurrent finding of facts by the Kota Kinabalu High Court and the Court of Appeal.
“Therefore, we dismiss the appeal and (rule that) the conviction is safe. We (also) agree with the Court of Appeal that the sentence is the most appropriate based on the finding of the facts of the case. We affirmed the death sentence imposed on all of the accused,” he said.
The nine were sentenced to natural-life imprisonment by the Kota Kinabalu High Court on July 26, 2016 after being convicted.
However, the Court of Appeal, chaired by Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, substituted the nine men’s natural-life imprisonment sentence for waging war on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with death sentences.
The Federal Court also dismissed an appeal by the prosecution on the acquittal of 14 others accused of various offences, including supporting and promoting acts of terror in the country.
The 14 were Kadir Uyung, 31; Lating Tiong, 21; Masir Aidin, 23; Anwar Salib Akhmad, 34; Binhar Salib Akhmad, 32; Rijmal Salleh, 25; Abdul Majil Jubin, 46; Rizman Gulan, 24; Dani Ismail, 61; Totoh Hismullah, 60; Saidili Jaharul, 56; Basil Samiul, 38; Abdul Hadi Mawan, 54; and, Salib Akhmad, 65.
The other judges on the panel were Chief Justice of Malaya Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Ramly Ali and Tan Sri Azhar Mohamed.
The Lahad Datu intrusion, in February and March 2013, cost the lives of 10 members of the security forces.