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Nirmal Avoids Gallows

Nirmal Avoids Gallows
Legal team working on Christin Nirmal’s case in Malayisia, Azreen Ahmad Rastom (left), and Siti Nurani Zahid.
September 08
16:06 2018

Fijian national who was convicted for drug trafficking in Malaysia has escaped a death penalty. Christin Nirmal, 29, was instead handed a life sentence, thanks to the do-not-give-up attitude of her legal team led by top Malaysian Criminal lawyer Abdul Rashid Bin Ismail.Some of Malaysia’s top lawyers made up Nirmal’s legal team and mounted a number of challenges to save her from the mandatory death penalty.

Life imprisonment in Malaysia is 30 years, but an early release can be secured on good behaviour. Nirmal was convicted under Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952 for bringing in 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, which is also known as ice, into Malaysia.

She has been in a Malaysian jail since 2015.She was charged under section 39 B(1)(a) of the Malaysian Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for drug trafficking which, upon conviction, is punish-able with the mandatory death sentence by hanging.

Speaking to Fiji Sun from Malaysia, Mr Ismail said they managed to convince the criminal court not to sentence Nirmal to death.

However, the legal battle does not end there. Mr Ismail is looking at avenues to appeal against Nirmal’s conviction.

He is of the view that she does not deserve to spend her life behind bars in Malaysia, but be back home with her family, in Fiji.Nirmal’s legal team frst took the matter to the High Court to seek a declaration that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional.

When this failed, they took the matter to the Malaysian Court of Appeal.

There they failed too. But they did not give up.

THE BACKGROUND:

Nirmal was 25 years old when she met an African man on social networking site Tagged.

The mother-of-three who was separated from her husband, left Fiji to meet the person in Hong Kong.

She had studied only up until Year Four. After spending some three weeks in Hong Kong, she was sent with some school bag samples to Malaysia, which she was supposed to pass onto another person.

She did not know that sewn inside the school bags were drugs.

When she was intercepted at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the school bags were confiscated and 1.5 kilograms of ice were found. Malaysian law states that anyone found guilty of bringing in more than half a kilogram of ice into their country faces death.

THE LEGAL TEAM AND THEIR FIGHT:

The team from the law firm Messrs.

Abdul Rashid Ismail

Abdul Rashid Ismail

Rashid Zulkifi, which was led by Mr Ismail, included Ooi Zen Jie, Azreen Ahmad Rastom and Siti Nurani Zahidi. When asked how they managed to convince the judges not to send Nirmal to the gallows, a humble Mr Ismail said: “We did our job and we convinced the judge that Nirmal is not a trafficker.

We are trying to appeal against the conviction, be-cause we are saying that Nirmal was duped by a syndicate, a sophisticated group of people.“When she carried the bag, she was not aware that there were drugs in the bag.“Of course, we are grateful that Nirmal is escaped from death penalty.

We worked very hard for her and we are happy with the fact that she escaped the death penalty.

We were fighting hard for her to be ac-quitted, but the decision was for the court to convict her and give her a life sentence.

I am grateful with the decision, but at the same time we also want to continue with the struggle with her release because ultimately we feel that she was a victim of a sophisticated group of drug syndicate, or a group of people.” Mr Ismail and his team were hired by the Fijian High Commission in Malaysia.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback:  ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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