PUTRAJAYA, Feb 8 — The Court of Appeal today upheld the death sentence of two ‘Tuhan Harun’ followers for the murder of a Pahang Islamic Religious Department (Jaip) assistant enforcement chief in 2013.
Justice Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, who chaired a three-man bench, said the death sentence was appropriate and commensurated with the offence committed by Sumustapha Suradi, 43, and Shamsinar Abdul Halim, 41.
He said the incident was a sad tragedy where the appellants (Sumustapha Suradi and Shamsinar) had received orders from a person practising deviant teaching to eliminate an officer from the religious agency who was carrying out his duties under the law.
“We have reached a unanimous decision. We are of the view, based on evidence adduced in the trial, there were sufficient evidence to prove the charge against the two appellants,” said Mohd Zawawi.
He said the court had examined issues raised by the defence, including on the witnesses’ credibility and issues that the the prosecution witnesses who testified were accomplices.
Mohd Zawawi said there was no reason to doubt the evidence given by the witnesses and the court found that the evidence by the accomplices against the two appellants were supported with the evidence by independent witnesses.
He said it was an important fact that the correct understanding of the religion, especially in respect of “aqidah” was essential.
If the understanding of a religion is not strong, many would be influenced by deviant teaching which could threatened national security and officers carrying out their work, he added.
The bench, which also comprised Datuk Kamardin Hashim and Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang, unanimously dismissed the duo’s appeal against their murder conviction and death sentence.
Sumustapha and Shamsinar, in white and red coloured prison clothes, looked calm when the verdict was announced.
They were appealing against the decision of the Kuantan High Court in 2016 in convicting and sentencing them to death for murdering Jaip Enforcement Division principal assistant director Ahmad Raffli Abd Malek, 49, who was shot outside his house in Bandar Indera Mahkota, Kuantan, on Nov 10, 2013.
Cult leader Harun Mat Saat, better known as ‘Tuhan Harun’, was also charged with conspiring in the murder. However, the charge against him was dropped on Aug 26, 2016 after he died at Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital, Kuantan on Aug 16, 2016 due to respiratory problems.
Lawyers Iskandar Shah Ibrahim, Hermes Media Putra Ibrahim (rpt Hermes Media Putra Ibrahim) and Mohammad Naim Mahmud represented the two men, while deputy public prosecutor Wong Poi Yoke appeared for the prosecution. — Bernama