Woman gets 10 weeks' jail for attempt to send two needles embedded in card to husband in jail

SINGAPORE - A woman who mailed two sewing needles concealed in a greeting card to her husband in Changi Prison was sentenced to 10 weeks' jail on Friday (Feb 23).

When Hajjah Agustinna Arshad visited husband Muhammad Irwan Spykerman in prison last August, he told her that he needed some needles to sew his torn prison clothes.

Hajjah, 33, told him to hand the clothes to the warden but Irwan said that was too troublesome. He then suggested that she put a needle inside the foldable part of a greeting card and send it to him. She agreed.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Dwayne Lum said Hajjah bought the card and some needles in Johor Baru.

She later detached the writing page from the cover page of the greeting card and placed two needles vertically along the spine. The writing page was then re-attached to the cover page and the card mailed to her husband at Cluster B of Changi Prison.

The needles were detected by X-ray and a police report lodged on Sept 18.

Further investigation found that Irwan wanted the needles as one of his cellmates intended to do tattoos.

Mr Lum asked for a jail term of at least three months, telling the court that public interest dictates that needles should not be introduced into the prison environment as they could fall into wrong hands. He also said unsterilised needles used for tattooing in prison could lead to health issues.

There was also pre-meditation and planning, he added.

Hajjah's lawyer, Mr Patrick Fernandez, sought two to four weeks' jail for his client, an Uber driver with three children aged one to 11 to support. He said she is remorseful, lowly educated and easily influenced by Irwan's dominance over her.

District Judge Adam Nakhoda agreed that there was a need for general deterrence and to send a message that such action could not be condoned.

He allowed Hajjah to surrender on March 9 so that she can make arrangements for her children. Bail of $15,000 was offered.

She could have been fined up to $3,000 and/or jailed for up to 12 months.