College students planning to take a summer job smuggling marijuana across Southeast Asia, would be well advised to ask for hazard pay when trafficking through Malaysia. Not only does this democratic monarchy enforce one of the strictest international drug policies, but the penalties for breaking their drug laws often result in death.
A Nigerian college student was sentenced to die last week by a Malaysian court for his role in the trafficking of marijuana into the country.
According to reports, 37-year-old Uchechukwu Nelson Ohaechesi was sentenced to death by hanging by High Court Judge Amelia Tee Hong Geok Abdullah after he was found guilty of transporting nearly 60 pounds of cannabis into the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur back in 2010.
Under the mandatory sentencing guidelines detailed in the country’s Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952, anyone found guilty of drug trafficking is to be strung up by the neck until they are dead — no exceptions.
Despite the arguments of Ohaechesi’s attorney, who claimed it was actually Ohaechesi’s friend who was carrying the bag of marijuana, the high court found the “the weed is not mine” defense to be a failed attempt at proving doubt. Apparently, Ohaechesi never told police the marijuana was not his, which led the judge to believe his defense was a lie.
“In light of the many contradictions and the unfathomable evidence of the accused coming to Malaysia to study English, and to play football, the court finds that the accused is not a witness of truth,” said the judge. “As such, the court is of the considered view that the accused’s defense is but an afterthought, a pure fabrication and untrue.”
Then came the judge’s haunting words, which are unfathomable in relation to crimes involving marijuana. “The court, therefore, sentences the accused to be hanged by the neck until he is dead.”
Malaysian prosecutors are not known for exhibiting any level of compassion. In 2010, three men convicted of selling marijuana escaped the death penalty and instead received a sentence of 12 years in prison. However, the prosecution, dissatisfied with the court’s leniency, demanded the case be retried, which led to the men being found guilty of drug trafficking and subsequently sentenced to death.