Thursday, 30 April 2015

Luis Alfonso, Simón, José Villarreal Death Sentence: Malaysia Confirms Penalty Of Mexican Brothers For Smuggling Meth‏

Source: Latin Times (23 April 2015)

Malaysia's Federal Tribunal confirmed on Thursday that three Mexican brothers convicted of drug trafficking will be sentenced to death. The brother's legal representatives had tried a final appeal against the sentence, but they have exhausted their legal options. Police busted brothers Luis Alfonso, 47, Simon, 40 and Jose Regino Gonzalez Villarreal, 37, along with a Malaysian and a Singaporean man, in 2008. All three Mexican men are from Sinaloa, Mexico. They were smuggling 29 kg (64lbs) of meth in the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru. The mandatory sentence for drug trafficking in Malaysia is death by hanging.

"Our decision is unanimous. Appeal dismissed against all five defendants. Conviction and sentence affirmed," Federal Court justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin told the court in Putrajaya,  Malaysia.

In a statement from the Secretary of External Relations (SRE), the Mexican government explained that it had worked hard to ensure that the men were treated well and had access to legal assistance during their 7 years in prison, including several in-person visits from Mexican officials and family members. In the statement, Mexico decried the imposition of a death sentence and reaffirmed its opposition to capital punishment in all countries. Mexico is one of the 153 countries who have banned capital punishment or haven't used it in the past ten years. It's last civilian execution was carried out in 1937.

The death penalty is prominent through Southeast Asia, where executions of foreigners is a constant strain on international relations. In January, Indonesia executed a Brazilian man on drug trafficking charges, causing a row between the two countries. Brazil stalled credentials for an Indonesian ambassador, and President Dilma rousseff announced that while she respected Indonesia's sovereignty, said that "the death penalty, which global society increasingly condemns, gravely affects relations." Execution of Mexican nationals has also strained relations between Mexico and the U.S., one of the few countries in the Western Hemisphere that still uses the death penalty. Mexico successfully stayed 5 executions of it's citizens after suing through the International Court of Justice in 2005, but that order was overturned by the U.S. Supreme court in 2008

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