‘It is impossible to imagine that states today cannot make use of another means than capital punishment to defend peoples’ lives from an unjust aggressor.’ – Bergoglio
The Vatican recently eliminated life imprisonment from its own penal code.
PUTRAJAYA: It is not everyday the Federal Court have Mexican siblings on death row and rarer to hear that the drug traffickers received a rosary and medallion from Pope Francis to keep their hopes high.
Luis Alfonso, 47, his brother Simon, 40 and Jose Regino Gonzalez Villarreal, 37, have spent more than eight years in Malaysia, mostly in four different prisons across Malaysia.
To the Apex court, the case seemed like another drug trafficking case – the five judges did not mention Mexican or consider the nationality of the accused – when deciding on the final appeal on Thursday.
Looking hopeful and smiling, the three accused sat directly in front of this reporter. In broken English, Simon talked about the gift he received from the Pope.
“We got gifts from the Pope on Holy Thursday last year,” Simon said with a smile.
Luis’ wife and their sister had flown in from Mexico to attend the hearing. It was their second visit, according to Mexican journalists who had been following the trial.
The two women treasured every moment they were able to spend with the men, changing seats from time to time to be as close as possible to them.
The accused have aged, all sporting a mustache. According to a Mexican journalist, they were able to speak and understand English now, something they could not when they were first charged.
Their lawyer Kitson Foong, who was hired during the High Court trial, was constantly seen assuring them during the stand down periods to not lose faith.
After the judgement was read, there was no tears shed. It was just faces of disappointment from all parties.
After all, the Court of Appeal and High Court have given them the same sentencing.Mexican Ambassador to Malaysia Carlos Felix Corona looked tensed in the entire proceeding and was clearly disappointed with the judgment. The brothers said, through a translator, that Corona had been in touch with them for the last one year during their time in prison. Corona, previously Consul General of Mexico in San Francisco, California, is no stranger to cases involving drugs during his tenure in the US. “We will analyze the situation with lawyers and eventually come up with the next step to help the brothers,” he said.