A 25 year old man from Sydney was arrested last November in Guangzhou, China, for allegedly attempting to smuggle 30kg of methamphetamines into Australia.
In the past 24 hours, Peter Gardner‘s court case has suddenly been pushed forward by 6 months… for no reason. His lawyer, Craig Tuck, said that the reason for this date change is completely unknown.
Gardner will be seen in court on May 7th, and could face the death penalty by firing squad if he is found guilty. Due to China’s three level judicial system (police, prosecutors, then courts which are controlled by the Communist Party), and conviction rates being extremely high, Gardner’s lawyers have said that his fate is very close to certain.
Gardner was travelling through China with partner Kalynda Davis, who was also arrested at Guangzhou Airport on suspicion of smuggling drugs. Guards allegedly found vacuum-sealed bags in their baggage when they were about to board a plane back to Australia. Davis was released without charges after a month in custody. The pair had only met a few weeks beforehand, via a dating website.
Another Australian woman, Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto finds out today whether she will face execution, after attempting to smuggle ice from Shanghai to Kuala Lumpur. Exposto has said that her supposed fiance – a US soldier serving in Afghanistan she met on-line – asked her to take a bag containing documents relating to his retirement on a flight.
As the news of the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia sinks in, many are no doubt wondering where else the death penalty is still used (zoom in):
According to the SBS Backgrounder, three Australians currently stand on death row, and many more could potentially be facing it. The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed yesterday that 17 people altogether have been accused of crimes that have the death penalty as a consequence, but cannot provide further information. However, NSW Council of Civil Liberties do provide the names of Australians who have been sentenced to death:
- Pham Trung Dong, for attempting to smuggle suitcases of heroin from Vietnam to Australia
- Henry Chhin, for amphetamine trafficking in China. His sentence is suspended.
- Ibrahim Jalloh, for methamphetamine trafficking in China. His sentence is suspended for two years.
If you want to learn more about the death penalty or help eradicate it, you can read more on Amnesty International‘s website. They have been working to abolish the death penalty worldwide since 1977: www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/death-penalty/
Image via Twitter