27 February 2017
Amnesty International Malaysia welcomes the decision by Sultan of Selangor Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj Ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj to offer a pardon from death row for Shahrul Izani Suparman.
“We join the family in celebrating Shahrul’s second chance at life,” AI Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said.
In 2014, Shahrul’s family had approached the human rights organisation to intervene in his death sentence pronouncement.
Shahrul was mandatorily sentenced to death on 8 December 2009 after serving six years in prison for drug trafficking. He has spent 13 years in prison after police found 622 grammes of cannabis in the basket of a borrowed motorcycle on which he was riding.
“We have campaigned for the commutation of Shahrul’s death sentence since 2015. Today, we welcome this news and celebrate a life that has been spared the noose. In a few short weeks on 9 March, Shahrul will celebrate his 33rd birthday, outside the shadow of the death penalty,” Shamini said.
In 2015, Amnesty International, the world’s largest human rights movement, selected Shahrul for a its global anti-death penalty campaign in conjunction with the World Day Against Death Penalty. Within a few months, Amnesty International members and supporters had signed over 10,000 petitions worldwide supporting his clemency application.
“This is a battle won because a life has been saved, but the war against the use of death penalty continues. Shahrul is one of over a thousand people waiting to be executed. Even as we speak, brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai whose execution was temporarily halted last Friday are still in the dark on when they will be executed,” Shamini said.
In the past, the Malaysian government had announced reviews of the mandatory death sentence for drug-related offences to provide judges with sentencing discretion, however, these proposed amendments are yet to materialise.
In the October parliamentary session, Law Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said announced that there were nine individuals executed in 2016 although Amnesty International had recorded only four.
“The secrecy surrounding executions in Malaysia tarnishes our eroding human rights record at the global level. Now that the Sultan of Selangor has granted Shahrul’s clemency application, we hope
that the federal government would exercise political will and abolish the mandatory death penalty as a first step towards total abolition,” Shamini said.
Amnesty International Malaysia reiterates its call for Malaysia to impose a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The death penalty is cruel, inhuman and degrading.
“In an imperfect world with a fallible justice system, it is never justified to take a life. The death penalty is irreversible and final. Should Malaysia move to abolish the mandatory death penalty for drug-related offences, the international community would view it as a positive first step towards completely removing the death penalty from Malaysia’s s law books,” Shamini said.