Selangor sultan saves man from the gallows

When death row inmate Shahrul Izani Suparman's mother heard that her son was spared the hangman's noose, she froze in shock.

Sapenah Nawawi was informed of the news last Monday at the Sungai Buloh prison where Shahrul has been held for 14 years.

"I just couldn't believe it at first," the sobbing 59-year-old told a press conference here yesterday.

Shahrul Izani, 33, who was sentenced to death for a drug trafficking offence in 2009, received a new lease of life after Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah approved his clemency appeal.

"I am most grateful to God. I would like to thank His Royal Highness for granting him a pardon, and everyone who has been fighting to save my son's life. Shahrul had given up hope and was just awaiting his execution," she said.

Mission accomplished: Shamini (left) and Sapenah Nawawi with the world-wide campaign posters to save Shahrul’s life.
Photo: The Star

In September 2003, the then 19-year-old Shahrul Izani, the fifth in a family of eight children who worked as a restaurant help, was arrested at a roadblock in Klang after being found with 622gm of cannabis.

In December 2009, he was convicted by the Shah Alam High Court of drug trafficking, an offence which carries the mandatory death penalty.

Amnesty International Malaysia took up Shahrul Izani's case, appealing to the Selangor Pardons Board to commute the death sentence.

They collected more than 10,000 signatures during a world-wide campaign launched in 2015.

Amnesty executive director Shamini Darshni said the battle was won but the body, which focuses on human rights abuses, would continue with its crusade against the death penalty.

"With Shahrul Izani's successful clemency application, we hope that the Malaysian Government will exercise its political will and abolish the mandatory death penalty as the first step towards total abolition," said Shamini.