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73 Year-Old Vietnamese-Australian Woman Sentenced to Death for Heroin Smuggling

Nguyen Thi Huong, 73, after a Ho Chi Minh City trial where she received a death sentence for drug smuggling on June 29, 2016. Photo: Nguyen Tien/Thanh Nien

Nguyen Thi Huong, 73, after a Ho Chi Minh City trial where she received a death sentence for drug smuggling on June 29, 2016. Photo: Nguyen Tien/Thanh Nien

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HANOI – A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced 73-year-old Nguyen Thi Huong a Vietnamese-born Australian woman to death for trafficking heroin.

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court found Nguyen Thi Huong guilty on Wednesday of possessing 36 bars of soap stuffed with 2.8kg of heroin in her baggage as she was boarding a flight to Australia in December 2014, the Thanh Nien News said.

Court officials and Australian diplomats in the city could not be reached for comment about the case.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was “concerned that an Australian citizen has been sentenced to death in Vietnam” but added that under Vietnamese law the woman can appeal the sentence “so there is still some way to go before this legal process concludes”.

“We will continue to provide consular assistance and support to the woman and her family. Universal opposition to capital punishment is a long-established policy of Australian governments,” a department spokesperson said in an email.

Huong said she visited Vietnam the month earlier and a Thai woman in HCMC’s neighbor province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau gave her the soaps to carry to Australia. She said she did not know of the drugs.
However the court decided to hold her fully responsible.

The court ruled that the offence was “extremely dangerous to the community” and found her guilty. She now faces death by lethal injection.

Vietnam has some of the world’s toughest drug laws. Those convicted of possessing or smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine face the death penalty.
The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics is also punishable by death.

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Posted by on Jun 30 2016. Filed under Tourist in the News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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