A Malaysian court on Friday postponed the trial of the son of newly crowned Sultan of Sulu for his alleged role in the bloody standoff in Sabah.
The Malaysian news agency Bernama reported that Datu Amilbahar Hussin Kiram, the Sabah-based son of new Sultan Esmail Kiram 2nd will be tried on January 6 with 26 other Filipinos.
High Court Justice Stephen Chung was originally set to hear the cases on November 1, but moved it to January next year following another appeal for postponement from the Malaysian lawyer of the 27 Filipino accused.
The court had originally fixed an 11-day trial beginning September 17, which was also moved to November 1.
At their arraignment on June 27, Datu Amilbahar and his co-accused had pleaded not guilty to charges of Waging War against Malaysian King Yang di-Pertuan Agong and recruiting new members for a terrorist group.
The young Kiram was said to have the rank of “general” in the Sulu Sultanate’s Royal Security Forces (RSF), and was charged with taking an active part in the intrusion.
The sultanate’s spokesman Abraham Idjirani said they are monitoring the trial.
“The new sultan will be announcing next week his first Royal Decree and the Sulu Kingdom’s renewed policy on its continuing territorial claim over Sabah,” Idjirani added.
Kiram 2nd has succeeded his elder brother Jamalul Kiram 3rd who died two weeks ago.
Idjirani said they have been calling on the Philippine government to provide assistance to the detained Filipinos, whom he said are being tried illegally.
The Malaysian court on May 15 sentenced to life imprisonment eight Filipinos for their role in the Sabah standoff.
On February 9, 235 fighters of the Sultanate’s Royal Security Force (RSF) occupied Lahad Datu town in Sabah to revive the sultanate’s claim over the disputed territory.
Malaysian security forces drove out the Filipino fighters after clashes that left 68 RSF members and 10 Malaysian soldiers and policemen dead.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO