Two Chilean tourists who killed a Malaysian man in a fight in a hotel lobby shortly after they arrived in the country on holiday were sentenced to two years in prison Thursday.
Fernando Candia, a 32-year-old chef, and Felipe Osiadacz, 28, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide over the August 4 death in the capital Kuala Lumpur.
The two Chilean men were initially charged for murder which in Malaysia still carries the death penalty -- if found guilty they would have faced execution by hanging.
But prosecutors Wednesday offered a lesser charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder over the death of 27-year-old Yusaini Ishak who died from "compressive asphyxia", where pressure on the chest interferes with breathing.
Defence lawyers had argued that the dead man had tried to "extort" money from the Chilean men, and that they defended themselves when he came to the hotel and attacked them.
"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.
In court Thursday, the two Chileans accepted the lesser charge and pleaded guilty.
Judge Mohamad Nazlan Mohamad Ghazali sentenced the pair to two years in jail, effective from their arrest last August.
The accused were "genuine tourists" with no previous convictions, he said, adding that they that they had no intention to commit murder.
When the sentence was read out both the men cried and hugged their family members and friends.
Before the judgement was read out, a tearful Osiadacz apologised to the dead man's family and expressed remorse.
"I would like to apologise to his family. I have plans to go and live in Spain with my beautiful girlfriend. We are not criminals," he said.
Candia also spoke to the court through tears, saying that the incident had flared up "suddenly".
"I want to marry and live a normal life," he said.
Venkateswari said the two Chileans could be out of prison by the end of the year.
“My clients are happy... very happy. They should go home before Christmas since they will enjoy a discount of eight months," she told reporters.