PUTRAJAYA: A former cook found guilty of killing his girlfriend when she refused to marry him 13 years ago has escaped the gallows after the Federal Court today commuted his death sentence to 31 years in prison.

A three-judge panel led by Justice Datuk Harmindar Singh Dhaliwal set aside the death penalty after allowing a review application by Othman A. Aziz, 72, under the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023.

Harmindar, presiding with Datuk Rhodzariah Bujang and Datuk Nordin Hassan, also ordered the man to serve his prison term from the date of his arrest on May 3, 2011.

Othman, a father of two, has spent nearly 13 years behind bars.

On June 26, 2012, the Alor Star High Court sentenced Othman to death for killing Ratna Suffizahriyanti Omar, 23 years old at the time, in a room of a house in Jalan Stadium, Alor Setar between 8.45 pm on May 2, 2011 and 12.45 am the next day (May 3, 2011).

Othman lost his appeals at the Court of Appeal on March 11, 2014 and the Federal Court on Jan 19, 2015 respectively.

Earlier, lawyer Nik Mohamed Ikhwan Nik Mahamud, representing Othman, applied for the death penalty to be commuted with a 30-year prison term, saying that his client had surrendered to the police after the incident.

“My client had fully cooperated in this case, and he also suffers from cataract that requires follow-up treatment at the Serdang Hospital,” he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Amril Johari said there were 26 stab wounds and four slash wounds on the victim’s chest and back.

Based on the case facts, Ratna Suffizahriyanti’s body was found in Othman’s room by the police following a report made by Othman himself. -Bernama

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