Tuesday, March 3, 2009

End of appeal, Raja Munirah behind bars in Japan

PUTRAJAYA, May 26 — Malaysian student Raja Munirah Raja Iskandar failed in her final attempt to quash her conviction and jail term for attempting to smuggle syabu at the Narita International Airport in 2006.

The decision was pronounced by the Japan Supreme Court on May 20 after finding that the argument submitted by Raja Munirah's counsel was merely based on the claim of breach of procedural law which was not the appropriate ground to allow Raja Munirah's application to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Her counsel Rosal Azimin Ahmad, when contacted, said the proper reason prescribed under Article 405 of Japan's Criminal Procedural Law was claim for breach of constitutional right.

He said Raja Munirah was saddened by the court decision but took it calmly and added that she might apply for parole. She will, however, have to complete at least half her jail term.

Raja Munirah, 23, was sentenced to seven years and six months' jail and fined 1.5 million yen (about RM46,800) in default 250 days' jail by the Japan High Court after she pleaded guilty to the offence. Her sentence was to run from the date of her arrest, Dec 20 2006.

However, she was given a reduction of 270 days. So, she has to serve six years and nine months.

Her appeal to the Japan High Court to set aside the conviction and jail term also failed.

Rosal Azimin appealed to the public for donations to pay the fine for Raja Munirah so that she would not serve the additional 250 days in jail.

On Dec 20, 2006, Raja Munirah was arrested at the Narita Airport when a few packets containing syabu weighing 690.80 grammes were found in her bag.

She claimed that the bag was bought by an Iranian friend to match her winter clothes and that the bag was handed over to her at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport before leaving for Tokyo.

Raja Munirah had gone to Tokyo to attend an interview for the post of public relations officer.

She is serving her sentence at the Tokyo detention centre in Kosuge. — Bernama

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