December 1, 2021

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A Nigerian Man Sentenced to Death for Drug Trafficking in Malaysia has Been Freed

A Malaysian court has acquitted a Nigerian man who was condemned to death in 2018 for drug trafficking.

The Federal Court overturned a Nigerian national’s conviction and death sentence for drug trafficking, which had been upheld by the High Court and Court of Appeal in Kuching, Malaysia.

On June 7, 2016, Nigerian Jonas Chihurumanya was arrested in a car park at Jalan Canna for allegedly trafficking 158.3 grams of methamphetamine.

On conviction, he was charged under Section 39B (1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) 1952 and punished under Section 39B(2) of the same Act, which involves a death sentence or life imprisonment and whipping. On Jan 30, 2018, the Kuching High Court found him guilty and condemned him to death.

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His lawyer appealed the verdict of the High Court to the Court of Appeal, but it was dismissed on October 23, 2019. He then took his case to the Federal Court. After granting Jonas Chihurumnanya’s appeal in Zoom proceedings on Thursday, November 11,2021, a three-member panel unanimously discharged and acquitted him.

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The Federal Court found that the circumstantial evidence did not irresistibly point towards Chihurumnanya having knowledge of the alleged drugs in the boot of the car he was driving. In the absence of knowledge, the panel held that the element of possession as required under the law was not established by the prosecution.

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