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Malaysian single mother with nine children sentenced to death for meth possession; protests erupt


Hairun Jalmani, a 55-year-old woman was sentenced to death in Malaysia after being convicted for possessing drugs, last week. The single mother of nine children was sentenced by Judge Alwi Abdul Wahab on 15 October at the Tawau High Court in Sabah, Malaysia for being caught with 113.9g of methamphetamine in January 2018.


Meanwhile, a 45-second video showing a handcuffed Jalmani breaking down as she is taken away from the courthouse, went viral on social media. She is seen pleading for help outside the courtroom while sobbing uncontrollably.


Under Malaysian law, those found in possession of over 50 grams of methamphetamine face a mandatory death penalty. It is among a minority of countries — China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Singapore are other countries that continue to impose the death penalty for drug-related offences.


Jalmani’s case is an ‘example of how Malaysia’s death penalty punishes the poor [with] particular discriminations against women’, Amnesty International Malaysia said on Monday. The agency also said that women who have been subjected to violence, abuse, and exploitation have little to no chance to get these factors taken into account at sentencing. It further appealed to the Malaysian government to repeal the mandatory death penalty for all offences.


Several activists pointed out that the death sentence was an injustice to Jalmani’s nine children. Protest has erupted across the globe, protesting against the death penalty.


According to a report by Amnesty International, till February 2019, as many as 1,281 people were reported to be on death row in Malaysia. Of this, 568 people, or 44 per cent, were foreign nationals. ‘Of the total, 73 per cent have been convicted of drug trafficking,” the report said, adding that “this figure rises to a staggering 95 per cent in the cases of women. Some ethnic minorities are overrepresented on death row, while the limited available information indicates that a large proportion of those on death row are people with less advantaged socio-economic backgrounds’, the report stated.




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