Philippine woman's death sentence scrapped in Vietnam, fresh investigation underway

Thanh Nien News

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  Dona Buenagua Mazon leaving her appeals trial in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday. Photo credit: VnExpress Dona Buenagua Mazon leaving her appeals trial in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday. Photo credit: VnExpress
Vietnam's Supreme People’s Court ordered a fresh investigation on Wednesday into the conviction of a Philippine woman who was sentenced to death for smuggling 1.5 kilograms of cocaine into the country.
Following her appeals trial held in Ho Chi Minh City, the court annulled the death sentence handed down to Dona Buenagua Mazon, 39, by the HCMC People’s Court during her first trial on August 13, news website VnExpress reported. 
The new investigation will be conducted to determine the exact amount of cocaine that Mazon brought into Vietnam. 
According to the indictment handed down by the HCMC People’s Court, Mazon was arrested at Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 7:30pm on December 31, 2013 shortly after she arrived. 
Vietnamese customs officers found two plastic bags containing 1.5 kilograms of cocaine hidden in her hand bag. 
Mazon told police she had been hired by an African man known only as Rudica to transport drugs. In December 2013, Rudica paid her US$1,500 and asked her to enter Vietnam. 
He then bought her a plane ticket to Brazil, where she received a bag from Rudica’s accomplices which she then took to HCMC where customs officials placed her under arrest.
Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine face the death penalty.
The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal narcotics are also punishable by death.

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