Prosecutors appeal life sentence, seek death for female student in drug trafficking case

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Prosecutors in Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday said they have filed an appeal asking the People's Supreme Court to overrule a life sentence and punish a former student with the death sentence for drug trafficking.

At the first hearing in March, Tran Ha Duy, 23, a former student of the HCMC-based Hong Bang University, was convicted of smuggling more than 7.5 kilograms of drug from Benin and Malaysia into Vietnam between October, 2010 and July 2011. 

She was working for a man known only as Francis in Africa, prosecutors said, adding that the drugs were to be transported to another country from Vietnam.

They said Duy also asked her friends and relatives to smuggle drugs with her, including her younger sister, 21-year-old Tran Ha Tien, a former student of Van Lang University.

Tien was sentenced to 20 years in prison for transporting over four kilograms of drugs.

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Prosecutors said for every trip, the smugglers were paid between US$500 and $1,000.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws, with those convicted of smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin facing the death sentence.

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