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Australian to face firing squad in Vietnam

An Australian man of Vietnamese origin will face the firing squad in Vietnam for charges of drug trafficking, state media has reported.

Tran Van Thanh, 39, was handed the death sentence by the Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court on Friday, the Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper said.

Two of Thanh's accomplices, Tran Van Viet and Pham Martin, also Australians of Vietnamese origin, received life imprisonment.

Two Vietnamese nationals, Pham Dai Nhon, 43, and Le Thi Loan, 28, received 16 and 20 years in prison respectively.

The five were arrested in June last year. Police are still hunting for two other overseas Vietnamese who were implicated in the case.

Between February and June 2003, the seven-member gang, of whom two are women, trafficked heroin from Vietnam to Australia, the paper said.

Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world.

Anyone found in possession of 300 grams or more of heroin, or 10 kilograms or more of opium, could face the death penalty.

Foreigners sentenced to death are however rarely executed.

Last July, an Australian woman condemned to death by a Vietnamese court, also on drug trafficking charges, had her sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

Le My Linh was arrested on November 17, 2001 at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat airport as she attempted to board a flight to Australia.

She received the death penalty on August 28, 2002.

A court rejected her appeal but President Tran Duc Luong accepted her clemency plea following intense diplomatic pressure from Canberra.

At least 97 people have been sentenced to death this year in the communist nation and 63 have been executed by firing squad, according to figures compiled from state media and court officials.

Clemency appeal for Aussie Viet
Sunday November 7, 04:23 PM

The Australian government will appeal for clemency in the case of an Australian man of Vietnamese origin facing the firing squad in Vietnam on drug charges.

Tran Van Thanh, 39, was handed the death sentence by the Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court for drug trafficking on Friday.

Two of Thanh's accomplices, who are also Australians of Vietnamese origin, Tran Van Viet and Pham Martin, received life imprisonment.

Two Vietnamese nationals were also jailed.

The five were arrested in June last year. Police are still hunting for two other overseas Vietnamese who were implicated in the case.

Between February and June 2003, the seven-member gang, of whom two are women, trafficked heroin from Vietnam to Australia.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said the three Australians had until November 20 to lodge appeals against their sentences.

It could then take up to four months for the Court of Appeal to hear their cases.

"If the death sentence is upheld on appeal there is 30 days to file application with the (Vietnamese) State Council for clemency," the spokeswoman said.

"The government will register its strong support for clemency if that were to occur."

She said the Australian government had a long-standing rule of opposing the death penalty.

Australian consular officials had attended the trial and provided assistance to the three men.

Last July, an Australian woman condemned to death under Vietnam's tough anti-drugs laws had her sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

Le My Linh was arrested on November 17, 2001 at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat airport as she attempted to board a flight to Australia. She received the death penalty for drug trafficking on August 28, 2002.

A court rejected her appeal but President Tran Duc Luong accepted her clemency plea after diplomatic pressure from Canberra.

At least 97 people have been sentenced to death this year in the communist nation and 63 have been executed by firing squad.

Australian Government to act in firing-sqad decree
The Australian Government will appeal for clemency in the case of an Australian man of Vietnamese origin facing the firing squad in Vietnam on drug charges.

Tran Van Thanh, 39, was handed the death sentence by the Ho Chi Minh City People's Court for drug trafficking on Friday.

Two of Thanh's accomplices received life imprisonment. Two Vietnamese nationals were also jailed.

The five were arrested in June last year. An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said the Government would register its strong support for clemency if the death sentence was upheld on appeal.

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All information is Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff
All information is Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff