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Nigerian sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Malaysia acquitted

Nigerian sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Malaysia acquitted

Jonas Chihurumanya, a Nigerian who was arrested for allegedly smuggling a total of 158.3 grams of methamphetamine into Malaysia has a lot to thank God for. 

He was arrested on June 7, 2016 at about 12:05 in the morning at Jalan Canna. 

The Malaysia High Court with a no-nonsense stance on drug trafficking wasted no time charging Jonas under Section 39B (1)(a) of the Dangerous Drug Act (DDA) 1952 and punishable under Section 39B (2) of the same Act. Upon conviction, both Acts carry a death sentence or life imprisonment with whipping. 

It is unclear the amount of lashes a convict would receive or the amount of times in a day or week he would be bent over and his buttocks set on fire with lashes. It is worst if this decision is left to the flogger. Imagine what relief Jonas Chihurumanya would have felt on hearing that his conviction has been annulled – meaning his buttocks will no longer be set on fire daily or weekly. I am even shifting on my chair thinking about it. 

 Mr. Chihurumanya was found guilty and sentenced on Jan. 30, 2018, by the Kuching High Court. His counsel quickly launched an appeal to the High Court’s decision at the Court of Appeal, which was dismissed on Oct 23, 2019. But Chihurumanya’s counsel went further to launch a subsequent appeal in what was seen as the last hope for the client at the Federal Court. 

The Federal Court made of a three-member panel led by Datuk Seri Mohd Zawawi Salleh – together with Datuk Nallini Pathmanathan and Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli unanimously discharged and acquitted, Jonas Chihurunanya, after allowing his appeal in a proceeding held on Zoom on Thursday, November 11, 2021. 

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On Mr. Chihurumanya’s final appeal, It was determined by the 3 man panel that there was a serious missdirection by the trial judge in invoking the statutory presumption under Section 37(da) of the Dangerous Drugs Act and at the same time relying upon Section 2 of the same Act to prove the element of trafficking, which prejudiced the appellant in terms of burden of proof placed on him. 

Satinder Singh Sandhu, Muhammad Izayyeem Azim and Lim Vui Seng represented Jonas Chihurumanya – While May Ling, a deputy public prosecutor, represented the prosecution. 

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