Sentenced To Death
Long Story Short
A man living near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was just found guilty of trafficking cannabis. As a result, he’s been given a death sentence. There have been debates in the country recently about its harsh marijuana laws. But so far, no changes to those rules have been made.
A 32-year-old man named Ibrahim Musa Rifa’l was given a guilty verdict this week after he was caught trafficking cannabis. Back in April of 2014, Ibrahim was discovered with 9.63 kg of marijuana. That’s a little more than 21 pounds.
After being caught with the weed, he was charged with two separate counts of cannabis trafficking. The first was for trafficking in 8.18 kg of marijuana. And the second was for trafficking in 0.72 kg of marijuana.
The man’s trial officially began on April 4 of this year. And now, at the conclusion of the trial, he was found guilty of both charges. The judge gave Ibrahim the death sentence.
According to sources in Malaysia, Ibrahim was sentenced according to the country’s Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952. According to that set of laws, cannabis trafficking comes with a mandatory death penalty.
Time To Rethink The Global War On Drugs
Ibrahim’s death sentence once again raises important questions about the global war on drugs. Earlier this year, the UN hosted the 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session, and the primary focus was drug policy. Before the assembly met, the Global Commission on Drug Policy issued a statement urging the UN to call for an end to the global war on drugs.
The debate about the war on drugs—and especially about anti-cannabis laws—is becoming more widespread around the world. And that debate has been heating up in Malaysia, too.
In February of this year, prominent health care officials and lawmakers sparred over the country’s anti-pot laws. A well-known doctor named Nadiah Norudin spoke out against a proposal to decriminalize marijuana. She claimed that more relaxed cannabis laws would be dangerous to children and young people.
But lawmaker Syed Rosli Jamalulail quickly fought back in the media. He said that Norudin’s statements weren’t backed up by data. He also accused her of trying to demonize medical cannabis so that it wouldn’t compete with prescription meds.
In any case, these most recent developments in Malaysia should be a wake-up call to the world. Sentencing a person to death for selling cannabis is the most extreme example of the widespread harm caused by the global war on drugs.