December 21, 2011

MALAYSIA: Ugandan grandmother sentenced to death

GEORGE TOWN, Penang / The Star / News / Courts / December 21, 2011

Death penalty for Ugandan
By Christopher Tan

A Ugandan grandmother was sentenced to death after she was found guilty of trafficking in 2,329gm of methamphetamine at the Penang International Airport.

Nabweteme Hadija, 56, was seen wiping away tears after the High Court interpreter explained the decision to her.

Judicial Commissioner Mohd Amin Firdaus Abdullah in his decision said the defence had failed to raise a reasonable doubt against the prosecution’s case, and therefore, he had no choice but to impose the mandatory death sentence.

To the gallows: Nabweteme being led by the police after the High Court passed the death sentence.
Nabweteme, a handicraft trader, was found guilty of trafficking in the drugs at the airport in Bayan Lepas on Sept 9, last year.

She was convicted of the offence under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

Mohd Amin Firdaus said it defied common sense that Nabweteme did not know or was not suspicious about the hard compartment at the base of the luggage.

“She was going on a long journey and had packed her own clothes. How did she not suspect something wrong with the luggage?” he questioned.

He also said that arresting officer Chief Insp Balber Singh and two police corporals who were on their rounds at the airport, had noticed Nabweteme behaving in a suspicious manner at the airport’s arrival hall at about 11.30pm on Sept 9 last year.

“The accused was seen pulling the luggage and behaving suspiciously. She was asked to go through a luggage scan.

“The Customs officers found something suspicious at the base of the luggage and when Chief Insp Balber cut it out, he found the packages (containing the drugs) which were cellophane-taped,” he said.

Defence counsel S. Yagoo appeared for Nabweteme while Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Amril Johari prosecuted.

Yagoo told reporters outside the courtroom that he would file an appeal.

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