Observing Ramadan behind bars: Enlightening experience for prison inmates

15/04/2022 06:41 PM

SUNGAI PETANI, April 15 (Bernama) -- It is a Ramadan like never before for Amran (not his real name) as he observes this year’s fasting month behind bars. 

The 21-year-old man is currently serving a 16 months’ jail sentence at the Sungai Petani prison after he was found guilty of stealing jewellery at a premises in Alor Setar in October last year.

“Previously, I spent more time with my friends than with family. I feel sad that for the first time I cannot celebrate Hari Raya with my family,” he told reporters at the Tautan Kasih Ramadan di Sebalik Tirai Besi programme, organised by the Kedah National Security Council (MKN) at the prison yesterday.

Sharing his early experience of being a prison inmate, Amran said he was enveloped in fear and sadness when his freedom was snatched by the offence that he should not have been committed.

He said living in financial hardship and peer group influence had prompted him to engage in illegal activities to earn money.

“My friend managed to sell the jewellery that we stole to a pawnshop for RM38,000. But we got arrested following a police report lodged by the pawnshop staff,” said Amran who had been found guilty to a charge under Section 411 of the Penal Code.

However, Amran said being sent to prison had given him the chance to learn many new things, improve himself and acquire a deeper understanding of Islam to be a better person. 

Meanwhile, a female inmate known as Nisha (not her real name), 19, also expressed her sadness for not being able to spend Ramadan and Aidilfitri with her three-year-old daughter.

Nisha, who was charged under Section 39A (2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, said observing Ramadan behind bars for the first time had made her truly regret of her actions.

Meanwhile, MKN Kedah director Mohd Zawawi Zakaria said the programme was held for the first at the Sungai Petani prison to welcome the blessed month of Ramadan with Muslim inmates there.