The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Woman Escapes Death

A Zimbabwean woman convicted of smuggling hard drugs in Hong Kong was spared the death sentence after she was thrown behind bars for seven-and-a-half years in that country.

Asian countries impose death sentences for drug traffickers.

Regina Makwembere (40) was arrested in Hong Hong after being found in possession of amphetamine drugs in her luggage at the Hong Kong International Airport while en-route to Thailand in March this year.

Amphetamine is a psycho-stimulant drug that produces increased wakefulness and focus in association with decreased fatigue and appetite.

Foreign Affairs deputy director legal and consular Mr Chris Mavodza on Friday said Makwembere was sentenced last week by a Hong Kong magistrate. "Yes, I confirm she was given seven-and-a-half years after the court considered some mitigatory circumstances," Mr Mavodza said.

Makwembere has been in jail since March and she claimed to be in dressmaking business and had travelled to South Africa by bus around February 15. She stayed in a hotel in Johannesburg before reportedly picking up the drugs from a South African woman only identified as Pearl.

Mr Mavodza said Pearl assisted Makwembere to smuggle the drugs through OR Tambo International Airport.

The value of the contraband meant for Thailand was not disclosed.

Fifteen other Zimbabwean women are doing time in Asian jails for hard drug-related offences.

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