EIGHT Filipino supporters of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram 3rd who were charged in connection with the intrusion in Sabah have been sentenced by the Malaysian court to life imprisonment, according to the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.
Abraham Idjirani, the Sultanate’s spokesman, on Wednesday said they have received information that the eight Filipinos were convicted by a Malaysian court despite the absence of counsel.
The eight were identified as Rijmal Salleh, Saidili Jaharul, Dani Ismail, Pabblo Alie, Mohamad Ali Ahmad, Basil Samiul, Abdul Majil Jubin and Rizman Gulan.
He said the eight, who were charged with waging war against the King and being members of a terrorist group, have been transferred from Sabah to Kuala Lumpur, where they will serve their sentence.
“We have received information from the relatives of eight Filipinos that they have already sentenced and that they have been transferred to Kuala Lumpur to serve their sentence,” Idjirani told The Manila Times.
He condemned the swift conviction of the eight Filipinos saying that they were denied due process.
He added that the relatives could not even visit them while in prison.
The Malaysian government has repeatedly denied the 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 charged a local woman identified as Norhaida Ibnahi for allegedly harboring the Kiram followers at a house in Kampung Sri Melor at Bugaya in Semporna between Feb. 9 and March 22.
It also charged Sultan Jamalul’s nephew, Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, the son of Sultan Bantilan Esmail Kiram 2nd, who is acting as the Officer-in-charge of the Sultanate in Sulu before the Tawau High Court in Sabah.
Idjirani urged the Philippine government to provide legal assistance to Datu Amirbahar, saying that the Sultanate cannot afford to hire its own lawyers.
In justifying his call, Idjirani said that if the government has been extending help to Filipinos convicted of drug offenses abroad, it should provide the same assistance to Datu Amirbahar, who helped in negotiating with the Sulu Royal Forces (SRF) to end the standoff.
If proven guilty, Datu Amirbahar faces the death sentence.
He also said that even Sultan Bantilan was not duly informed by the Malaysian government, through its embassy in Manila on the condition of his son.
(RITCHIE A. HORARIO)