EIGHT Filipino supporters of Sulu sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd who were charged with terrorism in connection with their intrusion into Sabah were sentenced to life imprisonment, according to the sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.
Abraham Idjirani, the sultanate’s spokesman, said on Wednesday they received information that the eight Filipinos have been convicted by a Malaysian court even though they had no legal counsels.
The eight—Rijmal Salleh, Saidili Jaharul, Dani Ismail, Pabblo Alie, Mohamad Ali Ahmad, Basil Samiul, Abdul Majil Jubin and Rizman Gulan—were charged with waging war against the King and being members of a terrorist group. They were transferred from Sabah to Kuala Lumpur, where they will serve their sentence.
Idjirani condemned the swift conviction of the Filipinos, saying they were not given due process. He added that the Filipinos were not provided legal counsels during the trial. Their relatives were also barred from visiting them in prison.
The Malaysian government has repeatedly denied Philippines’ request to see and provide consular assistance to all detained Filipinos believed to be followers of Kiram citing “security reasons.”
Besides the eight Filipinos, the Malaysian government also filed charges against sultan Jamalul’s nephew, Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, the son of sultan Bantilan Esmail Kiram 2nd. Idjirani called on the Philippine government to provide legal assistance to Datu Amirbahar, saying the sultanate has no means to hire a lawyer for him.
“The sultanate has no resources to provide legal assistance to Datu Amirbahar, and so we are appealing to the government to provide such assistance to a Filipino,” he added.
If proven guilty, Datu Amirbahar may face death sentence.
Idjirani said Datu Amirbahar’s father was not informed by the Malaysian government, through its embassy in Manila on the condition of his son.
“If Malaysia is observing the protocol of law or due process, it should have informed sultan Bantilan so that he could have sought legal counsel for his son,” he said.
Ritchie A. Horario