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Lahad Datu witness: I only want to see my husband

A protected witness in the Lahad Datu intrusion trial told the High Court judge hearing the case that she wanted to look at her husband, an accused in the trial.

When delivering his ruling on whether the woman should be given protection or testify in open court, Justice Stephen Chung said the witness did not mind testifying without being seen by her husband Amir Bahar Hushin Kiram.

"She said it was fine if her husband cannot see her as long as she is able to see him through video link," said Chung.

The judge said that in an interview with her in August last year, the woman said she was not afraid to testify in open court as she did not know the other 29 individuals being tried with her husband in the case.

"(But) she said that a month ago, the prosecution showed her seven photographs (of the accused persons) and upon seeing two of the photographs, she indicated to the prosecution that she did not wish to testify in open court.

"From what she told me, she is afraid of these two accused," he said after interviewing her for the second time, which was conducted this afternoon.

Amir Bahar appeared to attentively look at the judge as he delivered his ruling in which he decided the woman qualified to testify as a protected witness.

The witness told the court that Amir Bahar was a member of the Sulu sultanate's Royal Security Force (RSF) where he was appointed by his father Sultan Esmail Kiram as chief of staff.

However, she said, there was conflict in the RSF because the sultanate's crown prince Agimuddin Kiram wanted somebody else, known to her as General Musa, to be the army's chief of staff.

To a question by deputy public prosecutor Jamil Aripin, the witness said the conflict divided the RSF into two groups.

"One group was led by Sultan Esmail and the other by Agimuddin," she said through a court interpreter who wore earphones to follow the witness's testimony in the Suluk language.

The witness told the court that Sultan Esmail and her husband took a peaceful approach in claiming Sabah from Malaysia by meeting with Malaysian leaders in the state.

On Agimuddin's approach, she said he also wanted to claim Sabah, but "I don't know in what way."

The witness, who came to Sabah legally with her husband in September 2012 at the invitation of friends, recalled her husband being asked to act as a negotiator on behalf of the Malaysian government in the intrusion.

She said Amir Bahar went to negotiate with Agimuddin in Kampung Tanduo on Feb 16, 2013.

In the dock are 27 Filipinos and three local residents who are facing one to multiple charges of being members of a terrorist group and waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

They are also alleged to have recruited members for a terrorist group or willfully harboured individuals they knew to be members of a terrorist group.

The offences were allegedly committed between Feb 12 and April 10, 2013.

The hearing, before Justice Chung at the Sabah Prisons Department, continues tomorrow.

- Bernama

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