You may have heard about a Singaporean who has been convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in Vietnam. And that International Human Rights lawyer M. Ravi has been arranging for lawyers there to help him.
Not only has Mr Ravi been helping in the former case, simultaneously he has also got lawyers to help pro bono a similar case — this time in China — of another Singaporean, Siti Aslinda binte Junaidi.
According to reports, 40-year-old Cher Wei Hon, who lives in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon — was in a ride-hail car crossing the border between Cambodia and Vietnam when it was stopped and searched by border guards on June 29, 2019.
The guards found 10 plastic bags holding a white crystal, which Cher later confessed contained methamphetamine.
According to the police, the total amount of meth Cher was carrying weighed 9.95kg.
In an update on the case, Mr Ravi shares some of the difficulties he encountered right from the onset.
He says Cher has submitted his final clemency petition to the Vietnamese President and that there seems to be a prospect of his case being reviewed again by the court. However, the review will only come once an application for a stay order to his execution has been filed.
Mr Ravi shares that in both Cher’s case and in the other case he is handling, that of Aslinda in China, there are a lot of evidential issues that have not been thoroughly investigated and addressed.
“First of all, the starting point for the death penalty for drug trafficking, for example, for meth, is 2.5kg and above. For heroin it is 600g. So, what if (the person traffics) 599g? And what if 2.49? So just that 0.1 kg, how can that make a difference to a person’s life? It is so arbitrary,” he said.
Cher was debt-ridden, and while he was in Vietnam, had his three young children taken care of by his elderly mother.
Mr Ravi adds that, compared to Aslinda’s case, Cher has a much more rigorous process of appeal. And as far as resources are concerned, the lawyers in China have agreed on pro-bono work, whereas the lawyers in Vietnam have agreed on much lower fees. /TISGFollow us on Social Media
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