The Appeal Court yesterday upheld a Vietnamese woman’s life sentence after she failed to prove she was not guilty of committing drug crimes in 2016.
Presiding Judge Sin Visal identified the woman as Nguyen Thivan, a 35-year-old Vietnamese national serving a life sentence behind bars after she was found guilty of drug possession and trafficking.
Judge Visal said Ms Nguyen was arrested by the Interior Ministry’s anti-drug police department in Daun Penh district on August 3, 2016.
He said on that day, police and the Phnom Penh Municipal Court prosecutor raided her home in Boeung Raing commune.
He noted police seized about 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine, ecstasy pills and heroin. Police also confiscated two scales and other materials.
Judge Visal said Phnom Penh Municipal Court found her guilty on March 16, 2017. The court also ordered her to pay $15,000 to be put in the state’s coffers.
During her hearing yesterday, Judge Visal told the courtroom that Ms Nguyen appealed to have the conviction dropped.
“Based on the trial and the evidence seized by police from her home, the Judges’ Council of the Appeal Court finds [Ms Nguyen] guilty,” he said. “The court understands that the ruling of Phnom Penh Municipal Court was correct and made under the law. Therefore, the court decides to uphold her conviction.”
Judge Visal said Ms Nguyen has 30 days to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Ms Nguyen yesterday said the ruling was an injustice because the drugs did not belong to her. She said the drugs belonged to Wang Zhan Hua, a Chinese national she had been dating back in 2016.
“It was an injustice – I do not accept the ruling because I did not commit what they convicted me of,” Ms Nguyen said, adding that she will appeal to the Supreme Court.