KUALA LUMPUR – Two Chilean tourists were sentenced to two years in jail for killing a man at a hotel in Malaysia after they pleaded guilty to a reduced charge not amounting to murder.
Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali handed down the sentence on Fernando Esteban Candia Olcay, 30, and Felipe Andres Osiadacz Sanhueza, 27, on Thursday, the Bernama reported.
They were accused to murdering 28-year-old Yusaini Ishak at a Kuala Lumpur hotel on Aug. 4 last year, less than 24 hours after arriving in Malaysia. They had pleaded not guilty to murder, which carries the death penalty, although the government has said it plans to abolish capital punishment.
The Malaysian man, described in court as a drug addict, broke a window and tried to attack the Chileans with glass before they subdued him. Ishak died of a heart attack during the struggle. A toxicologist told prosecutors Ishak had drugs in his urine and blood.
Defence lawyers had argued that the dead man had tried to “extort” money from the Chilean men, and that they acted in self-defense.
“It will be in the public interest to send them back. They are victims of circumstances. They were attacked first,” defence lawyer Venkateswari Alagendra had said.
Before the judgement was read out, a tearful Osiadacz apologized to the dead man’s family and expressed remorse.
“I would like to apologize to his family. I have plans to go and live in Spain with my beautiful girlfriend. We are not criminals,” he said.
The two Chileans could be out of prison by the end of the year, according to Venkateswari.
“My clients are happy… very happy. They should go home before Christmas since they will enjoy a discount of eight months,” she told reporters.
Convicts in Malaysia can get one-third off their sentences for good behavior.