The Supreme People's Court in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday increased the sentence of a 23-year-old student convicted of drug smuggling from life in prison to death.
Tran Ha Duy, a former student of Hong Bang University from Lam Dong Province, received the death penalty for smuggling a total of 7.5 kilogram of crystal methamphetamine (ice) into Vietnam beginning in 2010.
At the court of first instance in March, Duy was sentenced to life imprisonment for smuggling the drug from Benin and Malaysia into Vietnam between October of 2010 and July the following year.
The Supreme Prosecutors' Office appealed that decision, arguing that a life sentence amounted to an insufficient deterrent, noting that drug smuggling has become more "complicated" recently.
According to the verdict, she was working for a man known only as Francis in Benin, adding that the drugs were to be transported to another country from Vietnam.
They said Duy convinced her friends and relatives to smuggle drugs also. Her younger sister, 21-year-old Tran Ha Tien, a former student of Van Lang University, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for transporting over four kilograms of drugs.
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 or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine eligible for the death penalty.