Ex-Malaysian Indian lawyer, 3 others appeal death rap

Singapore, May 30 (IANS) A former Malaysian-Indian lawyer and three others, who were sentenced to death last week in the high profile murders of a Malaysian businesswoman and three others in 2010, have appealed their conviction.

Pushpa Ratnam, counsel for former lawyer N. Pathmanabhan and farmhands T. Thilaiyalagan and R. Matan, said that the notice of appeal was filed in the high court registry Tuesday in Shah Alam, the capital of the Malaysian state of Selangor, media reports said Thursday.

Hasshari Johari Mawi, counsel for the fourth man, R. Kathavarayan, said he had filed notice for appeal at the same place Wednesday.

The high court had May 23 sentenced Pathmanabhan, 43, and Thilayalagan, 21, Matan, 22, and Kathavarayan, 33, for the murders of cosmetics millionaire Sosilawati Lawiya, 47, her driver Kamaruddin Shamsuddin, 44, bank officer Noorhisham Mohamad, 38, and lawyer Ahmad Kamal Abdul Karim, 32, in Tanjung Sepat town in Banting distict Aug 30, 2010.

The businesswoman and her three aides had gone to Tanjung Sepat for a land deal but were later reported missing.

Pathmanabhan is said to be the mastermind behind the murders and money the motive.

Though the bodies were not recovered, all four were reportedly beaten to death, their bodies doused with petrol and burnt and the ashes thrown into a river.

In all, 138 witnesses had testified in the trial.

Lawiya’s was a rags-to-riches story. Daughter of a labourer, she used her savings of 13 years to start a cosmetics business that was worth millions of Malaysian ringgits.

The murders had created a sensation across that southeast Asian nation.

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