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Top Indonesian court overrules release of drug suspect

Top Indonesian court overrules release of drug suspect
Supreme Court hands death sentence to Chinese woman after lower court ruled charges against her be dropped

By Ainur Rohmah

JAKARTA (AA) - Indonesia’s Supreme Court sentenced a Chinese woman to death for drug smuggling Monday, overturning a lower court’s decision to release her as the country prepares for its next round of executions.

The North Jakarta District Court ruled last year that all charges be dropped against Li Linfei, 33, but prosecutors later filed an appeal to the Supreme Court, demanding that she be put to death.

"Grant the demand of the public prosecutor," said a Supreme Court ruling published by news website detik.com Monday.

Linfei was arrested in 2014 along with two other suspects at a luxury residence in Jakarta where 150 kilograms (330 pounds) of methamphetamine was discovered.

She claimed to be visiting Indonesia on vacation, and the North Jakarta District Court ruled that she be released since she was allegedly unaware of any smuggling activity.

Monday’s sentencing was issued by a panel of judges led by Artidjo Alkostar, who is known for handing tough penalties to those suspected of corruption and drug dealing.

Earlier this month, he led a panel of judges who rejected an appeal by an alleged member of an international drug syndicate accused of smuggling around 840 kilograms (1,850 pounds) of methamphetamine into the country.

Siu Cheuk Fung met the same fate as three co-accused from Hong Kong, including drug lord Wong Chi Ping, when the Supreme Court upheld June 2 the death sentence issued by a lower court.

Supreme Court spokesman Suhadi was quoted by detik.com as saying Monday that Alkostar issued the death penalty for “major” drug dealers solely "based on the principle of justice and not for the deterrent effect".

Indonesia has some of the harshest anti-narcotic laws in the world, and President Joko Widodo declared a "drug emergency" last year.

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo recently announced that the next round of executions will be held after the upcoming Eid holiday, expected to be marked around July 5.

The execution last year of 14 drug convicts was heavily criticized by the international community, with some countries whose nationals had been put to death withdrawing ambassadors from Jakarta.

source: News Feed
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