10/09/2019, 13.31
MALAYSIA – VATICAN
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Pope thanks sultan for sparing the lives of three Mexicans

Simon, Luis Alfonso and Jose Regino Gonzalez Villarreal were sentenced to death by hanging. The police had arrested them in 2008 at a drug-making facility. The Johor monarch commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Such an "act of compassion will be an encouragement for all people to renew their commitment to building a world marked by forgiveness, peace and a spirit of fraternal solidarity," says the letter.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pope Francis sent a letter to the Sultan of Johor, Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, thanking him for commuting the death sentence of three Mexican brothers convicted of drug trafficking.

Card Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, expressed the pontiff’s gratitude for the monarch's decision, announced on 21 September.

The apostolic nuncio to Malaysia, Mgr Joseph Salvador Marino, delivered the message in person two days ago at the Royal Palace of Istana Pasir Pelangi (picture 1) in Johor Baru, capital of the State of Johor (Peninsular Malaysia).

"On behalf of His Holiness Pope Francis, I am writing to thank you for your act of clemency and subsequent help in the representation of three Mexicans sentenced to death,” reads the letter.

"His Holiness prays that this act of compassion will be an encouragement for all people to renew their commitment to building a world marked by forgiveness, peace and a spirit of fraternal solidarity.

"Invoking upon Your Majesty and the members of the Royal Family and abundance of joy and peace. Pope Francis reiterates his profound gratitude."

A Malaysian High Court had sentenced five people, including the three Mexican brothers – Simon, Luis Alfonso and Jose Regino Gonzalez Villarreal (picture 2) – to death by hanging in May 2012.

Police arrested the men during a raid on a drug-making facility in 2008. The defendants, including a Singaporean and a Malaysian, claimed to be cleaners and not involved in illegal activities.

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