Friday, March 25, 2011

Filipinos charged for drugs: Iran gives life term to singer, China to execute three on 30 March

An Iranian court sentenced a Filipino religious singer to life imprisonment after he was found to carry prohibited substances while traveling from Iran to Thailand, according to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Tehran.
Ernie Tamonde, a missionary and native of Barangay (Village) Noa, Magpet, North Cotabato in southern Philippines will spend the rest of his life behind bars and was reported by his sister to have helped a friend bring a package that allegedly contained illegal drugs unknown to him to Bangkok in exchange for a round trip ticket, said the PDI.
Detained in Vakilabad Prison in Mashad since November, Tamonde's sister Emmie is seeking the help of Malacañang to ask the Iranian court commute the sentence.
According to Emmie, his brother was due to fly to Malaysia when his Iranian friend asked him to drop by Thailand bringing with him the unknown package.
It was said that the Philippine Embassy in Iran's capital knew about the case but failed to visit Tamonde.
Mayor Efren Piñol said he will write a letter to the president on behalf of Tamonde's family.
In another report, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday that the three drug smugglers on death row in China will be executed by lethal injection on 30 March, said the PDI.
The penalties of Elizabeth Batain, 38, Ramon Credo, 42, and Sally Villanueva, 32 were put on hold on 20 and 21 February after Vice President Jejomar Binay went to Beijing on 18 February to seek clemency for them.
The Chinese Embassy in Manila asked for understanding to respect their country's law. In earlier reports, an embassy spokesman said the execution is a way to curb the drug trade, and is helpful for both countries.
The DFA said the Philippine government will respect the decision of China's Supreme Court.
In a radio report, it was said that in response to relatives' pressure, Manila will send a letter to Beijing to seek another plea for clemency.
Credo and Villanueva will be executed in Xiamen while Batain will face execution in Shenzen.
In a report by TV Patrol, the relatives of Villanueva will head to China on Sunday to see Sally for the last time.
Credo's wife is still hopeful that miracles can happen while still asking for help to government authorities. Weeping on camera, she told her husband Ramon that she will take care of their children.
The Filipino public is divided over the issue as heard all over the mainstream media.
Credo, Batain and Villanueva are among the 277 Filipinos detained in the communist country for drug offences.
72 Filipinos are on death row with possible commutation, 38 received life term, 78 were sentenced 15 years jail term and 35 are on trial.
China's Supreme Court received six cases—one still on review, three were affirmed and two were overturned.
Details of this report here.

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