A Ho Chi Minh City court on Monday sentenced a 31-year-old Nigerian man to death for smuggling more than 3.4 kg of synthetic drugs from Qatar to Vietnam in June 2012, VietnamBreakingNews reports.
Ejiogu Benjamin Ikechukwu, who arrived at HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport on June 23, 2012, was charged with illegally transporting drugs, the HCMC People’s Court said.
While examining Ikechukwu’s luggage upon his arrival, customs officers discovered 19 bags of white powder hidden in 16 metal cylinders and a laptop adapter. Tests conducted later showed that the powder was methamphetamine, a kind of synthetic drug.
Ikechukwu was arrested the same day and confessed that he was carrying the cylinders and adapter for a man named Onyekachi, who is still at large.
According to Ikechukwu’s testimony, Onyekachi said that when he arrived in Vietnam, someone would contact him to take pick up the goods.
Under Vietnam’s Penal Code, those who are convicted of smuggling more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine will be given a death sentence.
The capital penalty is also applied for those who are indicted for producing or selling 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics.
Several foreigners have recently been sentenced to death for smuggling drugs into Vietnam.
In June 2012, a Ho Chi Minh City court handed down the death penalty to a 23-year-old female student from Thailand for trafficking three kilograms of methamphetamine from Benin to Vietnam.
Death penalty statistics are not released in Vietnam, but the punishment is handed down most frequently to those convicted of murder or drug-trafficking.
Vietnam officially switched from the firing squad to lethal injection in November 2011.
However, a lack of lethal injection doses led to a delay of executions because the original decree stipulated that the drugs be imported from the European Union (EU).
On February 2, 2012 the southern Tay Ninh provincial court sentenced Chinese national Zhu Yin Xiang, 48, to death for trafficking over 1.3kg of heroin from Cambodia into Vietnam . Xiang was arrested on August 16, 2012, at the Moc Bai boder gate in the province .
Last October, a court also sentenced a 61-year-old Filipino woman to death for smuggling five kilograms of methamphetamine into the country.
In regards to the execution of death sentences, Vietnam switched from the firing squad to lethal injection in November 2011, under a decree from the Law on Criminal Verdict Execution, approved by the National Assembly in 2009.
However, the new execution method took years to implement due to a failure to import the necessary materials from the European Union (EU), which banned the exportation of lethal injection drugs because
it considers capital punishment a violation of human rights.
Therefore, the Government amended the decree, allowing domestically produced drugs to be used for executions.
The decree took effect on June 27 and the first execution by lethal injection was carried out in Hanoi on August 6.
The EU banned the exportation of lethal injection drugs because it regards capital punishment to be a violation of human rights.
The Vietnamese government later amended the decree, which took effect on June 27, allowing domestic-made drugs.
Last August, Vietnam executed its first prisoner by lethal injection , ending a two-year pause in capital punishment.
There are currently 586 people on the death row in the country.