VIETNAM. HO CHI MINH CITY COURT UPHOLDS DEATH FOR FIVE DRUG TRAFFICKERS
May 21, 2007: aÂ court in Ho Chi Minh City Monday rejected appeals against death sentences of five drug traffickers found guilty early this year of dealing in over 120 kg of heroin in total.
Ringleader Nguyen Thi Hoa and her four henchmen Trinh Tien Hoat, Hoang Minh Chau, Le Thi My Dung, and Hoang Minh Sang, were sentenced to death in January for having trafficked 54 kg, 33 kg, 5.7 kg, 28 kg, and 3.3 kg of heroin respectively since 2003.
The court also upheld a life sentence for another member of the 31-strong gang which was busted in 2005. It also accepted the prosecutorsâ request and handed down a life sentence to another member who initially received 20 years.
Another ring member, 32-year-old Tran Thi Huong, charged with 9 kg of heroin, escaped the firing squad at the original trial as she had got pregnant â mysteriously enough after she was jailed separately from male prisoners and had given birth to a child last June.
Under Vietnamese law, a pregnant woman or one having a child aged below three will have their death sentence commuted to life. Subsequent investigation shows that prison guards were slack, allowing a male prisoner to âvisitâ her cell.Â (Sources: VietnamNet, 21/05/2007)