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Death Penalty: Iran Executes Five More Drug Traders, Australian Faces Ultimate Sanction Over Half Ounce of Hash in Bali

Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries continue to set the pace when it comes to executing drug offenders. Iran appears to be on an especially torrid pace, but this week Indonesian prosecutors were the most outrageous.

In Bali, 50-year-old Australian businessman Barry Hess could face the death penalty after prosecutors there decided to charge him with drug trafficking upon his being caught with 14 grams of hashish and 2.7 grams of marijuana in his home. It is only one of the offenses prosecutors have charged him with; the most lenient, being an unregistered drug addict, carries a six-month jail sentence. Prosecutors will present their case, then tell judges what charge and penalty they think is most appropriate. The judges, however, are not bound by those recommendations.

Meanwhile, the international death penalty abolitionist group Hands Off Cain reported that authorities in Birjand in northeast Iran had tried and executed five men for trafficking in opium and opiates. They had been caught traveling from Zahedan with nearly 3,000 pounds of opium, 120 pounds of morphine, and 16 pounds of heroin. The men were put to death after "official formalities," the correspondent noted.

The International Coalition Against the Death Penalty reports that Iran has executed 265 people so far this year, well ahead of the 140 executed all of last year. It is unknown how many of them were drug law offenders.

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Drug War in Bali: Australian lady with marijuana status?

What is the status of that Austrialian lady who was caught with a pound of MJ in her luggage, which she denied was hers and must have been put there by luggage handlers. She was in prison in Bali a couple years ago, and facing possible life in prison or death. Lots of protests from Australia and her family at the time. What is her status?

aloha, George Peabody

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