Probe on arrest of Kiram's kin sought
MANILA, Philippines - The Sultanate of Sulu will ask the United Nations to investigate Malaysia’s arrest of a nephew of Sultan Jumamul Kiram III and other Malaysian citizens of Tausug origin.
Abraham Idjirani, sultanate spokesman, said Amirbahar Kiram, nephew of Jumamul Kiram III, was never involved in the series of fighting in Lahad Datu early this year.
“In fact, he was was mediating for the peaceful resolution of the standoff,” he said.
They will submit the petition to the UN Commission for Refugees next week, he added.
Idjirani said that those facing charges in Malaysia were not members of the sultanate army but Malaysian citizens of Tausug origin.
The petition will include a report of human rights abuses against civilians of Tausug origin, he added.
Idjirani said the arrest and detention of civilians has boosted popular support for the more than 1,600 armed followers of the sultan’s brother Agbimuddin, who are now in control of the hinterlands of Lahad Datu.
The last encounter between Malaysian forces and the sultanate’s army took place last June 16 to 18 after the Malaysians tried to penetrate their jungle stronghold, he added.
No casualties were reported but the group of Agbimuddin Kiram are keeping their guard and will only engage Malaysian forces in self defense, Idjirani said.
The Malaysian government has invoked the Internal Security Act in going after civilians suspected of being supporters of the sultanate of Sulu.
A Malaysian court will hold a joint trial for 29 people implicated in the entry of followers of the Sulu sultanate in Sabah last February.
A report in The Star Online said Malaysian judge Ravinthran Paramaguru had ordered the joint trial for the accused, who have pleaded not guilty.
“One or more persons can be charged and tried jointly if they are charged for the same offense or different offenses under one transaction,” the report quoted Malaysian Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail as saying.
“The keyword here is one transaction.”
The 29 have been accused of waging war against the Malaysian king, among other charges.
The Star Online said 21 of the accused are charged with declaring war against the king and being a member of a terrorist group.
The offenses are punishable by death and life imprisonment. – Perseus Echeminada, Alexis Romero