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China’s supreme court leaves death penalty for Russian woman in force

March 02, 2012, 15:58 UTC+3
Lopatina, 38, was sentenced to death with a two-year suspension of sentence for drug trafficking in China
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Photo ITAR-TASS

Photo ITAR-TASS

GUANGZHOU, March 2 (Itar-Tass) — The Supreme People’s Court of Guangdong province in southern China has left a death penalty for Russian citizen Marina Lopatina in force.

Lopatina, 38, was sentenced to death with a two-year suspension of sentence for drug trafficking in China.

“Soon she will be taken to one of Guangzhou’s two women prisons. Thus, two years of the suspended sentence will begin to be counted, after which China can mitigate the sentence,” an official from Russia’s consulate-general in Guangzhou told Itar-Tass on Friday.

The diplomat noted that Lopatina decided not to file an appeal against the verdict.

“On March 1 the Supreme People’s Court recognized the initial verdict as legal and confirmed the sentence pronounced for the Russian citizen,” he said.

The official added that “the consulate-general continues to keep a close watch on the observance of rights and legal interests of the Russian citizen in China.”

On November 23 the resident of Khabarovsk, Marina Lopatina, was found guilty by a court in the south Chinese city of Zhuhai, China’s southern province of Guangdong, of trafficking 2 kilograms of heroin to China’s mainland from the Macao special administrative region, where she arrived from Thailand.

Under the Chinese laws, the smuggling of over 50 grams of dangerous drugs is the sufficient reason for sentencing to death.

At the same time diplomats explain that the woman can hope for mitigation of the sentence. Her sentence can be replaced for lifetime imprisonment or reduced to 15-20 years in prison for good behavior.

After this the consulate general can take attempts to bring Lopatina to the homeland within the framework of the Russian-Chinese agreement on mutual delivery of prisoners.

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