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Australian Woman among Five Foreigners Sentenced for Drug Transportation

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Precious Chneme Nwoko arriving at the court house

PHNOM PENH, (Khmer Times) — Five foreigners who were charged with drug transportation and drug trafficking have been convicted by the Phnom Penh Court of First Instance on May 28 with two of the accused convicted in absentia. 

Of the five suspects charged with these crimes, two were arrested on September 18, 2013, at the Phnom Penh International Airport, another was apprehended at a rental house in Chamkarmon district while the other two were able to flee.  

The court declared a judgment in absence for the two men who have escaped of 27 years imprisonment and a fine of 80 million riel. The court then issued an arrest warrant to implement this judgment according to article 353 of the criminal code of Cambodia. 

The three foreigners who were in the court hearing included 19-year-old female French national Charlene Savarino who was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment and a 50 million riel fine. Also convicted was 41-year-old female Australian national Ann Yoshe Taylor who received 23 years and a fine of 50 million riel.

The third is Nigerian male Precious Chneme Nwoko, 23, and was sentenced with 27 years imprisonment and a fine of 80 million riel.

“They were charged with cross-border drug transportation according to article 40 of the law on drug management of Cambodia for which their actions are criminal cases,” said presiding judge Mr. Kor Vandy. 

Mr. Pheng Heng, a lawyer for the defendants, said, “We will submit to the court of appeal because the encumbering evidences are not enough to convict my client.” 

The charges stemmed from the seizure of 2.2 kilograms of heroin which the accused were alleged to be transporting from Cambodia to Australia. 

This case was opened to public hearings on April 9, 2014, and the judgment announced on May 28, 2014.

According to the criminal procedure code of Cambodia, the accused can appeal within a 30 day period if they are not satisfied by the judgment of the court of first instance.

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