Drug mule wanted to pay off debt

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

A court in Viet­nam has sen­tenced an Aus­tralian man to life in prison for drug traf­fick­ing. Nathan James was con­victed in a one-day trial by the Peo­ple's Court in Ho Chi Minh City this week, a court of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day. James, 34, was ar­rested in Oc­to­ber 2013 while check­ing in for a flight to Aus­tralia af­ter cus­toms of­fi­cials at the air­port dis­cov­ered 1.5kg of heroin hid­den in his lug­gage. The in­dict­ment said James owe money to a man named Tim, who of­fered to write off the debt if James agreed to take the heroin hid­den in two suit­cases from Viet­nam to Aus­tralia. James told the court he re­ceived the suit­cases from the man, but de­nied that he knew heroin was hid­den in them, an ex­pla­na­tion that was re­jected by the court, the of­fi­cial said. James could have been sen­tenced to death, but the court took into con­sid­er­a­tion his his­tory of men­tal dis­or­ders, the of­fi­cial added. The Aus­tralian De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade said in a state­ment yes­ter­day that it has pro­vided con­sular as­sis­tance to a man con­victed in Viet­nam. It did not name him. That as­sis­tance in­cluded at­tend­ing court pro­ceed­ings and vis­it­ing him in prison. The state­ment gave no other de­tails, cit­ing pri­vacy obli­ga­tions. Viet­nam has one of the world's tough­est drug laws.

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