Selangor state Clemency Board urged to commute death sentence imposed on Shahrul Izani Suparman
Your Royal Highness,
I am writing to ask you to support the request for commutation of the death sentence imposed on Shahrul Izani bin Suparman, who was found in possession of cannabis in 2003, when he was 19 years old. It was his first criminal offense.
I also urge the government of Malaysia to abolish the mandatory death penalty and end the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences as first step toward abolition.
After spending more than six years in detention awaiting trial, Shahrul Izani was convicted of drug trafficking and mandatorily sentenced to death by the Shah Alam High Court on 28 December 2009. The Court of Appeal heard and dismissed his appeal on the same day on 12 October 2011. Similarly, on 26 June 2012 the Federal Court heard and dismissed his appeal. In 2014, Shahrul Izani applied for clemency before the Pardon Board of Selangor state. He has now exhausted all his appeals, and could be executed at any time.
Malaysia’s use of the death penalty violates international law and standards. Drug-related offences do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty can be imposed under international law. Furthermore Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act provides for the mandatory death penalty for anyone found guilty of drug trafficking or assisting others to traffic illegal substances. Mandatory death sentences, even for the most serious crimes, are contrary to international law as they do not allow judges any possibility of taking into account the defendant’s personal circumstances or the circumstances of the particular offence. Of additional concern is the fact that anyone found in possession of certain amounts or more of specified substances, or who is found to have custody over buildings or vehicles in which these substances are found, is automatically presumed to be trafficking drugs.
While welcoming recent reports that the Malaysian government would review its mandatory laws relating to drug offences, I am concerned that the government has yet to introduce amendments to bring national legislation in line with international law and standards on the use of the death penalty.