Malaysian single mother of 9 inconsolable in video after being sentenced to death for drug possession

Malaysian mother sentenced to death for drugs

A video showing a single mother of nine crying inconsolably and pleading for help after being sentenced to death for drug-related charges has gone viral in Malaysia.

What happened: Hairun Jalmani, a 55-year-old fishmonger, was caught with 113.9 grams of methamphetamine in January 2018. Jalmani was convicted of drug possession and distribution and was sentenced to death by hanging on Oct. 15, according to Vice.

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The viral TikTok showed Jalmani being escorted out by a police officer while pleading tearfully after her sentencing. The video received over 180,000 views on the social media platform.

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  • According to Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952, people caught with more than 50 grams of methamphetamine will face a mandatory death sentence that is usually carried out by hanging.
  • Malaysia is one of the few countries that punishes those convicted of drug-related charges. Other nations that practice the death penalty include China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Singapore. A Singaporean man was recently sentenced to death for allegedly importing one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cannabis into the country.

The aftermath: Jalmani’s case reignited a discussion on the death penalty in Malaysia, with some human rights activists pointing out that marginalized and vulnerable women are most affected by the harsh sentences, The Independent reported.

  • Jalmani’s case is an “example of how Malaysia’s death penalty punishes the poor [with] particular discrimination against women,” Amnesty International Malaysia said in a statement on Monday. It added, “Women who have been subjected to violence, abuse, and exploitation have little to no chance to get these factors taken into account at sentencing.”
  • “Justice is blind and repealing the death sentence is a solitary component of reform,” journalist Tehmina Kaoosji, who criticized the Southeast Asian country’s death penalty, said on social media. “The mitigating circumstances are policy and societally driven i.e; patriarchal- and MUST change, else the toxic cycle quite simply continues.”

Other details: In a 2019 report, Amnesty International found that those who were convicted of drug-related offenses were not given a fair trial, adding some of them had tardy legal assistance or incompetent legal representation.

  • About 73% of the over 1,200 people on death row in 2019 were convicted of drug-related charges, and 568 of them were foreigners, Amnesty International said in its report.
  • 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 agency said.
  • In 2017, Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation Senior Vice-chairman and former Malaysian Drug Prevention Association Vice President Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said socioeconomic factors like poverty were one of the many reasons why people turn to drugs.

Featured Image via @seehuadaily

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