PUTRAJAYA - The Appeals Court have overturned the life sentence of nine Filipino militants involved in the Sabah incursion four years ago and sentenced them to death for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia's king.
The men were sentenced to life in prison by a state court in Sabah last year over the armed incursion that left at least 70 dead and paralysed Lahad Datu in Sabah for weeks, a defence lawyer said.
Eight others, including three Malaysians, received prison sentences ranging from 10 to 18 years.
The bloody incursion by some 200 Islamic militants from the southern Philippines was inspired by a self-proclaimed Filipino sultanate's claims of historical dominion over Sabah.
The assault was the most serious security crisis faced by Malaysia in years, and led to a siege between the militants and Malaysian armed forces sent to root them out.
Court of Appeal judge Justice Mohd Zawawi Salleh said the three-judge panel decided unanimously to overturn the sentence following the prosecution's appeal, The Star reported on Thursday (June 8).
The nine defendants are Julham Rashid, 70; Virgilio Nemar Patulada @ Mohammad Alam Patulada, 53; Salib Akhmad Emali, 64; Tani Lahad Dahi, 64; Basad Manuel, 42, the son of the late self-proclaimed Sultan Sulu Jamalul Kiram; Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, 54; Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, 46; Al Wazir Osman @ Abdul, 62; and Ismail Yasin, 77.
They are also appealing against their conviction.