Prosecutors in Vietnam seek eight death sentences in heroin trafficking trial

Prosecutors in Vietnam are seeking death sentences for eight defendants on trial for allegedly trafficking in heroin from Laos and Cambodia as part of a drug ring, a court official said Wednesday. The court official said the ring, led by a 24-year-old college student, smuggled 78 kilograms (172 pounds) of heroin into Vietnam between 2003 and their arrests in April last year.

Prosecutors in Ho Chi Minh City recommended death penalty against alleged ringleader Tran Xuan Ha and seven other accused ring members, while seeking life sentences against 12 others accused of involvement, the court official said on condition of anonymity, in line with policy. The trial started last week Thursday and was scheduled to end Friday.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Possessing, trading or trafficking 600 grams (1.32 pounds) of heroin or 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of opium are punishable by death. About 100 people are sentenced death for drug-related offenses each year in Vietnam, which using firing squads for executions, reports the AP. I.L.

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