Federal Court commutes death, natural life jail sentences of 11 convicted for drug trafficking

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has commuted the death and natural life imprisonment sentence of eleven individuals who were convicted of drug trafficking under the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act.

Seven of the death row inmates, including two Thai nationals, had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment of 30 years, while another four had their natural life imprisonment sentences commuted to life imprisonment of 30 years.

The three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah and Federal Court judge Datuk Nordin Hassan heard the reviews from the eleven individuals and allowed their applications.

They are the first batch of applications heard by the Federal Court bench on Tuesday (Nov 14). Another 14 review applications will be heard by the Federal Court on Thursday (Nov 16).

The seven prisoners whose death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment are Teh Hock Leong, 52; Mohd Salleh Yunos, 52; Wan Mazuki Wan Abdullah, 46; Wan Mohd Azman Hassan @ Wan Ali, 50; Nazarrimi Sahib, 46; and Thai nationals Ouseng-Same-Ae, 54, and Mama Sobri Useng, 52.

The other four inmates – Zulkipli Arshad, 48; Wan Yuriilhami Wan Yaacob, 60; Ghazalee Kasim, 53; and Mohamad Junaidi Hussin, 52 – were convicted and sentenced to death by the separate High Courts for similar offences.

They then filed for clemency to the Pardons Board and had their death sentences reduced to natural life imprisonment.

They filed their review applications to the Federal Court to have their natural life imprisonment sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

In Tuesday's proceedings, Attorney General's Chambers (appellate and trial division) head Datuk Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar and deputy head Datuk Yusaini Amer Abdul Karim appearing for the prosecution did not object to the review applications.

Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ordered all of them to begin their life imprisonment sentences from the date of their arrests.

She also ordered Wan Mazuki and Nazarrimi to be given 12 strokes of the rotan each. All eleven of them were detained in prison between 21 and 24 years.

The review applications were filed under the Revision of the Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023 which took effect on Sept 12, 2023, conferring the Federal Court with the discretion to review cases involving death sentence.

This follows the enforcement of another new law – the Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023 – which came into force on July 4 this year. Under the new law, the mandatory death sentences for offences such as drug trafficking and murder have been removed.

The law gives judges the choice to impose either a death penalty or imprisonment for not less than 30 years but not exceeding 40 years, and if not sentenced to death, shall also be punished with whipping of not less than 12 strokes for male convicts below 50 years of age.

The eleven individuals were respectively convicted for trafficking in methamphetamine and cannabis weighing between 93.7g and 50.65kg.

In Tuesday's proceedings, lawyers Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Guok Ngek Seong appeared for Teh, while lawyer Mohd Fazaly Ali Mohd Ghazaly represented Mohd Salleh, and Ghazali Ismail was the counsel for Wan Marzuki.

Lawyer Abdul Rashid Ismail appeared for Wan Mohd Azman and Ouseng-Same-Ae, counsel Anwar Ezzad Zainal for Nazarrimi, lawyer Cheah Poh Loon for Mama Sobri, Ameerul Aizat Noor Haslan for Zulkipli, lawyer Muhamad Izwan Ishak for Wan Yuriilhami and lawyer Mohd Hamizi Mohd Yusof represented Ghazalee and Mohamad Junaidi Hussin. – Bernama

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