Sadly, Australian Schapelle Corby isn’t the only person to be facing the death penalty for marijuana. People are regularly executed for marijuana offences across the globe.
Death in the UAE
In the United Arab Emirates city of Fujairah, a woman named Lisa Tray was sentenced to death in December 2004, after being found guilty of possessing and dealing hashish.
The Fujairah Police told the media that they received a tip that Tray was dealing marijuana. Undercover officers claim they caught Tray with 149 grams of hashish.
Tray denied the charges and told police that her stepfather had given her the bag of hashish to deliver to someone. She said that she didn’t know that the bag contained hash or she would never have delivered it. Her lawyers have appealed the sentence.
Beheadings in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia brought in the New Year by publicly beheading two drug smugglers. An Iraqi man named Mattar bin Bakhit al-Khazaali was convicted of smuggling hashish and was executed in the northern town of Arar, close to the Iraqi border.
The other execution was of convicted heroin smuggler Mohammed Amin Abdullah Jan, a Pakistani. He was beheaded in Jeddah.
A Saudi Arabian government spokesman defended their execution policy against detractors. “We apply the laws of God,” he told the media, “and don’t pay attention to whoever says anything about that.”
Hanging in Brunei
In October 2004, a Malaysian man was sentenced to death by in Brunei for possession of marijuana.
The Brunei High Court sentenced Lam Ming Hwa to death by hanging after convicting him for possessing a 922 gram slab of cannabis. Under Brunei law, possession of over 600 grams gets you the death penalty.
Hwa and another defendant were caught in Hwa’s car with the marijuana under the passenger seat. Hwa’s co-defendant was released because he claimed that he did not know that the marijuana in the car, but that he had accidentally touched the bag while adjusting his seat backwards.
Death in the Philippines
A Japanese man escaped the death penalty, but will spend the rest of his life in a Philippine prison after being convicted of pot possession a decade ago.
Hodichi Suzuki was originally convicted of smuggling 1547 grams of cannabis through an airport security stop. Suzuki claims he was framed by a friend who owed him money.
Suzuki was originally sentenced to death, but on appeal the Philippine Supreme Court reduced his sentence to 40 years in jail, and lowered his fine from 10 million Philippine Pesos (180,000$US) to 1 million.
The Supreme Court judges added that drug smuggling is “the mother of all crimes.” Possession of over 500 grams or marijuana usually earns execution in the Philippines, as does owning over ten grams of opium, morphine, heroin, ecstasy, or cocaine.
Mass executions in China
Although China does not make precise records public, Amnesty International estimates that around 500 people are executed there each year for drug offences. China holds mass executions every June 26, to celebrate the United Nations’ “International Anti Drug Day.” Those executed have typically been convicted of smuggling or trafficking in anything from marijuana to methamphetamine.