|Photo: Samsul Said, The Malay Mail|
|Shahrul Izani is escorted out of the courtroom by police this morning, on his way to Death Row|
A 25-year-old man wept openly in Malaysian High Court court this morning when the judge sentenced him to death for marijuana.
Shahrul Izani Suparman was convicted of possessing 622 grams of cannabis with intent to deliver, reports Azreen Hani of The Malay Mail. Shahrul was 19 years old when he was arrested on Sept. 25, 2003.
According to police, Shahrul tried to get away from them on foot when he was ordered to stop while riding his motorcycle in Klang, Malaysia. Authorities said Shahrul had made a U-turn, and was riding without his lights on.
The marijuana, packed in two separate newspaper wrappings, was found in the motorcycle’s basket. Shahrul was charged under Malaysia’s Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952, which upon conviction carries a death sentence by hanging.
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Malaysia, along with Vietnam, Indonesia, China and several other Asian countries, has some of the harshest drug laws on Earth. Mere possession of more than 200 grams carries a mandatory death penalty by hanging in Malaysia.
Shahrul had spent the last six years in prison while battling the charges.
His lawyer, Suzanawati Ismail, asked the court to spare his client’s life, as this was the accused’s first offense. The lawyer said his client was only trying to escape the police since he knew he was guilty for riding the motorcycle without the lights on, and was unaware of the cannabis he was carrying, as he “was only helping his friend deliver” it.
Shahrul admitted his friend paid him for making deliveries on two separate occasions, but denied any knowledge of the contents of the packages he was asked to carry.
The judge, Datuk Mohd Zaki Yasin, was unmoved and sentenced Shahrul to death. The defendant has until Jan. 11 to appeal the court’s decision, according to The Malay Mail.