Thousands of people have already signed a petition aimed at sparing a Maltese man from his prison sentence. Since being charged with drug trafficking nearly a decade and a half ago, the man had turned his life upside down, and many people feel a prison sentence will do way more harm than good.
William Agius was caught trafficking drugs 14 years ago. Since then, he admitted himself into rehab. For the last 10 years, William has been clean of all drugs. Eight years ago, he even stopped smoking, following it up by swearing off all alcohol seven years ago. He even started his own restaurant business, employing other people and helping to give back to the society that might’ve given up on drug addicts like him.
After 14 years, however, William’s prison sentence finally caught up with him, and in a video uploaded by Xarabank this weekend, the young man explained how he’s scared he’ll lose everything he’s managed to build over the last decade to change his life.
“I’ve managed to enter society, I’m working, I have workers, I’m paying everything like I should and I’ve built all of this up,” William told Xarabank’s Peppi Azzopardi. Now, they’re going to throw me in a cell and you’ll all pay €100 per day for me to just stay in prison.”
Peppi offered a solution; 10 years of community service; speaking to children about his experience twice a week. The Xarabank host also mentioned a six-month course where William would learn about speaking to children, which William of course accepted.
Shortly after the Xarabank interview appeared online, a petition started making the rounds. In the petition (which is addressed to Malta’s President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Minister for Home Affairs & National Security Dr. Michael Farrugia, and Minister for Justice, Culture & Local Government Dr. Owen Bonnici), people are signing for William Agius to be spared of his prison sentence and instead being given community work.
At the time of writing, the petition had already amassed 5,754 signatures, with loads more coming in every couple of minutes. Dozens of comments were also attached to some signatures, with people vouching for the drastic reform William has managed to make over the last decade.
On Sunday morning, William Agius posted a Facebook status explaining his current situation and his decision to go on Xarabank.
“My intent was to maybe inspire others to help instigate a more reformative approach and better ways to giveback to society and not in any way trying to get away with it,” Agius said. “On the other hand I still can’t relate to people wanting to put others in prison (“Għax haqqu!”). In my opinion these people must really need a big hug to make them fully understand that to love and try to help others, love starts from within!”
William Agius concluded his Facebook status by saying he believes “there should be a form of individual rehabilitation for drug-related convicts,” and with such an already-large following on the petition opened on his behalf, it seems thousands of people agree with him.