VIETNAM. SIXTEEN DEATH SENTENCES UPHELD IN COUNTRY‚ÄôS BIGGEST DRUGS CASE
May 26, 2005: sixteen people failed in their appeal against death sentences in Vietnam's biggest drug trafficking case, a court official in Ho Chi Minh City said.
The city's highest court only commuted the death penalty of one convict passed by a lower court and upheld nine life sentences. Three others received jail terms of six to 20 years. The 29 defendants had been sentenced on January 24 for trafficking more than 820 kg (more than 1,800 pounds) of heroin and 1,000 pills of amphetamine from Laos and Cambodia and of selling them in and around Ho Chi Minh City. Other charges included weapons smuggling. It was the highest number of death sentences passed in a single trial in Vietnam. The first arrests were made in August 2004 after a lengthy surveillance operation by anti-narcotics police from Ho Chi Minh City. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 26/05/2005)