Canadian citizen Nguyen Thi Hiep was executed by a Vietnamese firing squad in late April. Hiep was accused of smuggling heroin into Vietnam.
Three days before Hiep was arrested in Hanoi in 1996, another Vietnamese-Canadian woman was arrested in Toronto airport. Both women were found to have heroin hidden within panels of art.
Canadian police cleared the woman after finding that she had been unwittingly duped, and three men were later convicted on the trafficking charge. Yet Vietnamese officials did not consider Canadian police reports which showed Hiep was similarily duped, and did not notify Canadian officials of the execution until two days after it had passed.
Nguyen Thi Hiep spent almost four years in a bleak cell before being gagged, blindfolded and shot to death by a firing squad. Her 74-year-old mother was travelling with her, and was sentenced to life in a Hanoi prison, where she remains.
Canada officially placed sanctions against Vietnam, and withdrew ministerial contacts in protest.