Putrajaya today defended its move to extradite a North Korean national to the US, an act that saw Pyongyang cutting diplomatic ties with Malaysia in retaliation.
In a statement, Wisma Putra said the government had ensured that the extradition of Mun Chol Myong was done in accordance with the principles of justice, rule of law and independence of judiciary.
“The extradition was only carried out after the due legal process had been exhausted.
“The rights of Mun Chol Myong while in custody in Malaysia were also guaranteed and fulfilled, including his access to his own defence counsel, as well as to consular assistance and visits by his family.”
Mun, who had lived in Malaysia for a decade with his family, was arrested in 2019 following the extradition request from Washington.
On March 9, he lost his final appeal in the country’s top court against extradition to the US to face money laundering charges.
He had denied claims of leading a criminal group that violated sanctions by supplying prohibited items to the North and laundered funds through front companies, according to his lawyers.
Mun faces four charges of money laundering and two of conspiracy to launder money. The allegations relate mainly to his work in Singapore.
Wisma Putra said Mun was detained on May 14, 2019 under Section 13 (1)(b) of the Extradition Act 1992.
It said he appeared before the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Dec 13 that year where the court allowed committal against him.
“His application for a writ of habeas corpus at the High Court of Kuala Lumpur on Dec 29, 2019, and his appeal at the Federal Court on Oct 8, 2020, were dismissed as the courts found that his application and appeal were unjustified and failed to meet the requirements under the aforementioned Extradition Act.”
It said Malaysia was now compelled by North Korea’s decision to close its embassy in Pyongyang, where operations had been suspended since 2017 following the assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam.
“Malaysia had always considered DPRK as a close partner since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973.
“Malaysia had been persistent in pursuing concrete efforts to strengthen our relations with the DPRK even after the deplorable assassination of Kim Jong Nam in 2017.
“In this respect, the DPRK’s unilateral decision is clearly unwarranted, disproportionate and certainly disruptive towards the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in our region.”