S'pore frees German drug offender

Posted by under News on 30 July 2005

A GERMAN woman who escaped execution for a drug conviction in Singapore in 2002 was released on 15 July 2005, after her five-year jail sentence was reduced by nearly two years for good behavior, prison officials said.

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Julia Suzanne Bohl made headlines in March 2002 when she was charged with drug trafficking after Singapore police seized 687 grams (24.2 ounces) of marijuana and other drugs in her apartment, located in a wealthy part of the city-state.

But Bohl, who was 23 when arrested, dodged the gallows after laboratory tests showed the amount of pure drugs found in her apartment weighed only 281 grams -- less than the 500 grams limit for marijuana which warrants the mandatory death sentence in Singapore.

"Julia has shown good behavior in prison so she was granted a remission of one third of her five-year sentence," prison spokeswoman Lim Soo Eng told Reuters.

Officials said the 26-year-old is expected to immediately leave Singapore after her release from the Changi Women's Prison, in the eastern suburbs of the city-state.

While serving her sentence, Bohl was pursuing a course in economics and social science from the London School of Economics through distance learning, said Bohl's lawyer Subhas Anandan.

During the court proceedings in 2002, Bohl sought leniency and apologized before she was convicted, saying: "I deeply regret what I've done, especially as I'm a guest in this country."

Singapore has some of the harshest drug laws in the world.

Death by hanging is mandatory for anyone aged 18 or over who is convicted of carrying more than 15 grams (0.5 ounce) of heroin, 30 grams (1.1 ounces) of cocaine, 500 grams (17.6 ounces) of cannabis or 250 grams (8.8 ounces) of methamphetamines.

About 400 people have been hanged in Singapore since 1991, most of them for drug trafficking, giving the wealthy city-state of 4.2 million people possibly the highest execution rate in the world relative to its population, rights group Amnesty International said in a report this year.

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Reuters S'pore frees German drug offender ahead of term 14 July 2005

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