In Saudi Arabia death for drug smuggler, in Nigeria light sentence

In Saudi Arabia death for drug smuggler, in Nigeria light sentence

Thursday, November 6, 2014 4:33 pm

Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed a Pakistani for heroin smuggling, bringing to six the number of convicted Pakistani drug smugglers beheaded over the past three weeks. But in Nigeria, a trafficker in Indian hemp got a light sentence of three months.

The sentence against the Pakistani, Amin Allah Zar Gul was carried out in Riyadh after he was “found guilty of trying to smuggle heroin in his gut”, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

The five other Pakistanis beheaded since October 15 are among 65 people executed this year in the kingdom.

The interior ministry says the government is battling narcotics “because of their great harm to individuals and society”.

A United Nations independent expert called in September for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said trials “are by all accounts grossly unfair” and defendants are often not allowed a lawyer.

He said confessions were obtained under torture.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict version of Islamic sharia law.

In Nigeria, a Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday sentenced a 28-year-old man, Israel Okoro, to three months’ imprisonment for trafficking in 400 grammes of Indian hemp.

Justice Mohammed Idris sentenced Okoro, who pleaded guilty to the offence.

The judge convicted and sentenced the accused after reviewing the facts of the case provided by the Prosecutor, Mr Orji Kalu, an Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Idris said that the prosecution had through the review of the facts, proved its case beyond every reasonable doubt. He held that the sentence should take effect from the date of his arrest.

The judge said that he was inclined to temper justice with mercy since the convict was a first-time offender.

Idris ordered that all drug exhibits tendered in court should be returned to the NDLEA for destruction, if no appeal was made.

The prosecutor told the court that the accused committed the alleged offence on Sept. 23, at Tommy Williams St., Egbeda, a suburb of Lagos, by unlawfully trading in hemp, which he said was an illicit drug similar to cocaine.

Kalu said that the offence contravened Section 11 (c) of the NDLEA Act, Cap N30, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

He said that the convict made a confessional statement during investigation.

The prosecutor tendered the statement of the accused, the certificate of test analysis, the bulk of the drug substance and the analysed drug, as exhibits, and they were admitted in evidence.

The convict, therefore, prayed the court to be lenient with him and promised never to involve himself in such illicit business.

Drug trafficking could attract life imprisonment, if the offender is convicted, although the judge could exercise his discretion and reduce the sentence.

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