A 55-year-old mother of 9 was sentenced to death by hanging over possessing around 4 ounces of meth

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A Malaysian single mother of nine was given a death sentence over drug-trafficking-related charges. Naruecha Jenthaisong/Getty Images

  • A Malaysian mother of nine was given the death sentence over trafficking-related charges.

  • Hairun Jalmani, 55, was charged in 2018 with possessing about 4 ounces of meth.

  • Three people were executed in Malaysia last year over drug-trafficking-related crimes.

A 55-year-old mother of nine was given the death sentence in Malaysia over possessing meth.

News reports from the local media outlet Free Malaysia Today said Hairun Jalmani was handed the sentence at the Tawau High Court in Sabah on October 15. The news outlet reported that Jalmani, a single mother who sold fish for a living, was charged with possessing 113.9 grams – or 4 ounces – of methamphetamine in 2018.

It’s a felony to possess meth in the US, too, though convictions instead involve jail terms of 10 years or more if one is caught with more than 50 grams of meth, with the intent to distribute the drugs. But death sentences for drug-related crimes are not uncommon in Southeast Asia. A man in Singapore was recently given the death penalty after he was found with 2 pounds of cannabis.

A video that appears to show Jalmani crying while being escorted out of a courtroom by a police officer was circulated on TikTok by See Hua Daily, a news outlet covering Sabah. During the video, Jalmani could be heard crying out and asking how her children would be cared for after her death, while the police officer told her to calm down.

Anyone caught with more than 50 grams of methamphetamine in Malaysia is presumed to be trafficking the drug unless evidence is provided to prove otherwise, the country’s Dangerous Drugs Act said. The human-rights group Amnesty International Malaysia said Jalmani was charged under a section of the act that carries a mandatory death penalty.

“Hairun’s life chances were stacked against her. She was a single mother in Malaysia’s poorest state trying to support nine children,” Amnesty International Malaysia tweeted. “Her case is an example of how Malaysia’s death penalty punishes the poor with particular discriminations against women.”

Amnesty International also said in a report that three people were executed in Malaysia last year on drug-trafficking charges.

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