December 20, 2005

Vietnam sentences Australian to death for drugs

HANOI (Reuters) - A Vietnamese court has sentenced a an
Australian of Vietnamese origin to death by firing squad for
trafficking heroin, a court official said on Tuesday.

Trinh Huu was convicted on Monday in Tay Ninh, a province
on the border with Cambodia, the official said. He has 15 days
to appeal.

State-run Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper said Trinh,
53, was arrested a year ago at a border checkpoint and his
arrest led to three Vietnamese. All four were charged with
trafficking 1.7 kg (3.7 lb) of heroin.

Trafficking of more than 600 grams (1.32 lb) of heroin is
punishable by death or life in jail in Vietnam.

One of the three accomplices was jailed for life and the
other two sentenced to 15 and 18 years, the newspaper said.

Trinh is the third Australian of Vietnamese origin
sentenced to death in Vietnam this year on drug trafficking

In June, Mai Cong Thanh was sentenced to death for
attempting to send heroin stuffed in loudspeakers to Australia
two months after Nguyen Van Chinh was given the same sentence
for trafficking heroin. The sentences have not yet been carried

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said in August
that his government, which is opposed to the death penalty, had
sought clemency for two Australians on death row in Vietnam on
drug trafficking charges, but did not name them.