Malaysia postpones execution of Filipino on death row

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2017 05:49 PM

The scheduled execution of a Filipino convicted of murder in Malaysia was postponed after the governor of Sabah heeded appeals from the Philippine government, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

Ejah Bin Jaafar was supposed to be hanged on Friday.

"We would like to thank the governor of Sabah for responding to the repeated appeals of the Philippine government on behalf of the family of Mr. Jaafar," Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in the statement.

"The execution of Ejah Bin Jaafar was ordered postponed by Sabah Governor Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Juhar Haji Mahiruddin following a last-minute appeal from the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur," the DFA said in a statement.

Jaafar's punishment may be reduced to life imprisonment instead of the death penalty, depending on the outcome of a case review.

"The Sabah Pardons Board will meet in December to review his case... The decision of the board will be final and executory without any further possibility of appeal," the DFA said.

The Sandakan High Court sentenced Jaafar with capital punishment in 2009 after it found the Filipino guilty of murder in September 2006.

The DFA has yet to give details on Jaafar's case including who he killed and why he committed the crime.

Foreign affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar told Agence France-Presse that Jaafar and his family have lived in Sabah "for a long time," but gave no other details.

Officials from the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia have been "making appeals since 2015 for Malaysian authorities to spare the life of Mr. Jaafar and commute his sentence," the DFA said.

The Philippines has also appealed to Malaysia to commute the death sentences of nine of its nationals who were convicted of taking part in a 2013 attack on the Sabah district of Lahad Datu, which left scores of people dead.

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos live in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island, many having been displaced by war and violence in the nearby southern Philippine region of Mindanao -- home to long-running Muslim rebellions.

-- With a report from Agence France-Presse