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Assistance provided to two S'poreans on China's death row: MFA

Assistance provided to two S'poreans on China's death row: MFA

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 27 Dec 2020
Author: Ng Wei Kai

Siti Aslina Junaidi and Mohd Yusri Mohd Yussof were initially arrested in October 2015 in Shenzhen.

Two Singaporeans sentenced to death in China for drug trafficking have been provided consular assistance by the Singapore Consulate-General in Guangzhou, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Friday.

MFA said that the consulate-general provided regular assistance to Siti Aslina Junaidi and Mohd Yusri Mohd Yussof, including visiting them regularly until the Covid-19 outbreak hit this year.

The consulate-general also ensured that the pair had access to medical attention and legal assistance, and has been in contact with their families to provide consular support as recently as last week.

Aslina, who is now 35, and Mohd Yusri, 44, were initially arrested in October 2015 in Shenzhen for allegedly smuggling 11kg of methamphetamine in 28 women's handbags inside their suitcases, CNN reported on Friday.

They were found guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in July. As Mohd Yusri's sentence has been suspended for two years, he may get a lighter sentence of life imprisonment instead.

Aslina is considered to have played a more active role, said CNN, and if her final appeal is unsuccessful, she faces execution.

Singaporean human rights lawyer M. Ravi, who has been giving advice on the case, said on Facebook on Thursday that finding legal representation in China has been difficult, but a pro bono lawyer has stepped forward to help.

Mr Ravi added that he is looking forward to working closely with the yet unnamed lawyer to have Aslina's case reviewed by the Appeal Court in China.

A court had heard that Aslina met a man named Chibuzor Onwuka while job hunting online late in 2014. The man offered her $2,000 to $3,000 in commissions per trip to move goods - often handbags, lingerie and toner cartridges - between China and Cambodia one to two times a month.

Aslina would pick up products in Guangzhou and travel by plane with them to Phnom Penh.

She referred Mohd Yusri to the scheme in July 2015, but the two were later caught after they had gone on two such trips together.

Both Aslina and Mohd Yusri reportedly claimed they did not have any knowledge of the drugs inside the products when they were arrested by Chinese authorities.

It is not known where Chibuzor Onwuka is but he is being "handled separately", according to court documents.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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