Malaysian Court Frees 4 Nigerians Sentenced To Death On Drug Charges

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A Court of Appeal in Malaysia has freed four Nigerians, including two former students after taking their appeals on the case of drug trafficking.

In a report by Free Malaysia Today, a Nigerian trader, Chris Christian, and two former students, Mbachu Chibuzo and Mbuga Vincent, declined an offer by the prosecution to reduce their charges to possession of drugs.

Judge Kamaludin Md Said, who led a three-member panel after hearing submissions, said there was merit in their appeal to warrant an acquittal.

“The conviction by the trial judge is unsafe as there were serious errors of law,” said Kamaludin.

The three Nigerians allegedly trafficked 770gm of methamphetamine in front of a restaurant at Jalan Danau Kota in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur, at about 5.50 pm on June 16, 2017.

They were convicted and sentenced to death by the Malaysian High Court in 2020.

Lawyer Afifuddin Hafifi argued that the trial judge misdirected herself in law by shifting the burden of proof on the three men when such a requirement was always with the prosecution.

Afifuddin, who was assisted by Hafizuddin Salehuddin, said the prosecution also failed to call or offer four material witnesses when their defence was called.

“The credibility of an agent provocateur to nab the three is also clearly in doubt,” he said, adding that there was a material contradiction between the agent provocateur and two other police officers.

Lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, who represented Vincent, said all three were jointly charged with common intention.

“My client was prejudiced as the trial judge did not consider the cautioned statements of Christian and Chibuzo,” said Hisyam.

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He said had the trial judge considered the evidence of the other two, Vincent could not have been implicated in trafficking or possession.

The Deputy public prosecutor Nahra Dollah urged the bench to maintain the conviction, saying the trial judge did not commit an error in law.

In the second case, businessman Favour Chinedu Atashie was sentenced to 13 years in jail and ordered to be whipped 10 times for having 2.75kg of methamphetamine at the KLIA arrival terminal at 11.40 pm on July 20, 2014.

He was sentenced to death in 2018 but the prosecution accepted an oral representation on Monday, December 13 to have the charge reduced.

The same bench imposed the jail term and whipping after hearing the submission on sentencing from deputy public prosecutor Nurul Farhana Khalid.

Afifuddin, in mitigation, urged the bench to temper justice with mercy so that Atashie could serve his jail term before being deported home.

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