Ministry pledges to help condemned Thai woman in Vietnam

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BANGKOK, June 27 – A Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday that the ministry is now providing legal advice to a Thai female student sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Vietnam, and pledged to exhaust all legal means to help the condemned.

Preeyanooch Phuttharaksa, 23, from Bangkok, was convicted yesterday in a one-day trial yesterday of trafficking more than 3kg of methamphetamine, Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre newspaper in Ho Chi Minh City reported.

She was paid some US$2,500 by a Nigerian trafficking ring carry the drugs from the African country of Benin to Vietnam and was arrested on entry at Ho Chi Minh City’s airport last October, the report said.

Thani Thongpakdi, Thai foreign ministry spokesperson, said upon learning about the court verdict, a Thai consular official in Ho Chi Minh City sought permission from the Vietnamese authorities to meet Ms Preeyanooch to provide necessary legal assistance.

In this case, he said, the condemned has the right to appeal within 15 days or to petition the president of Vietnam to seek pardon once the final court ruling is delivered.

The Thai Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City met the student on Dec  9, last year.

Ms Preeyanooch’s relatives also visited her in prison on Feb 14.

At this stage, Mr Thani said, the condemned could appeal to the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam which is the country’s highest court. All legal channels available will be exhausted before seeking a pardon.

The ministry spokesperson noted that Thailand and Vietnam signed a prisoner transfer treaty in 2010 but death row convicts are not entitled to benefit from the agreement.