DFA vows help for Pinoys convicted in Malaysia

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THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said the government will continue to extend “all appropriate legal and consular assistance” to nine Filipinos sentenced by a Malaysian court to life in prison.

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The troubled Filipinos were involved in an armed incursion in 2013 that killed at least 70 people and paralyzed a remote corner of Borneo for weeks.

Among those sentenced to life was 53-year-old Amir Bahar Hushin Kiram, nephew of self-styled Sulu sultan Jamalul Kiram III who reportedly ordered the sending of about 200 Islamic armed men to take over Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu in February 2013.

The others were Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, Basad Manuel, Ismail Yasin, Virgilio Nemar Patulada alias Mohammad, Salib Akhmad Emali, Al Wazir Osman, Tani Lahad Dahi and Julham Rashid.

Charles Jose, spokesman and DFA assistant secretary, said in a text message that the convicted Filipinos “have been assisted and represented by a private lawyer after their arrest in early 2013 and from the start of the trial proceedings in January 2014.”

Services of a private lawyer, he added, were arranged by the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and paid for by the Philippine government.

“The accused have been regularly visited by embassy officers and personnel,” Jose said.

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