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SA woman sentenced to death in China for drug-smuggling

China has sentenced to death a South African woman for drug-smuggling, state media said on Friday, in the same week that four Japanese nationals were executed for the same offence.

Janice Bronwyn Linden (35) was caught at the airport in the southern city of Guangzhou in November 2008 with more than 3kg of “ice”, or crystal methamphetamine, the Xinhua news agency said.

She was sentenced on Thursday by the high court in Guangdong province, the report said, adding the death penalty still needed to be approved by China’s Supreme People’s Court before being carried out.

The news comes as four Japanese nationals were put to death this week for drug-smuggling in a move that sparked concern in Tokyo.

And in December, China executed Briton Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old father-of-three convicted of drug-smuggling. Supporters said he was mentally ill and London repeatedly urged Beijing to grant clemency.

Rights group Amnesty International has said the number of people China puts to death each year is likely in the “thousands” and more than the rest of the world combined.

According to Amnesty, there are 68 crimes in China that are punishable by death, including non-violent offences such as fraud, bribery and drugs charges.

Those convicted of smuggling, selling, transporting or producing more than 50g of heroin or methamphetamine face the death penalty in China, according to Xinhua. — AFP

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