SA drug mule loses appeal, faces death penalty in Malaysia

2015-10-01 22:04
Deon Cornelius (Supplied)

Deon Cornelius (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - A Johannesburg father who was reportedly caught smuggling drugs into Malaysia is now facing the death penalty.

Deon Cornelius, 29, on Thursday lost his an appeal to have his death penalty sentence overturned after he was convicted in January. 

Patricia Gerber, head of Locked Up, an organisation that assists South Africans arrested overseas for drug smuggling, said she was uncertain whether there were any other avenues that Deon Cornelius could pursue. 

The 29-year-old man was arrested two years ago after he was found in possession of 2kg of methamphetamine when he landed at Penang International Airport on October 4 2013.

At the time of his arrest, he told authorities he had been given the laptop bag containing drugs by a person named Tony in Penang.

At the time, Beeld reported that Cornelius had told his family that he was going to Durban, before he disappeared.

Gerber however, said she blamed the South African government for the soaring numbers of South Africans who continued to be caught up in drug smuggling. 

"My point is our government is creating a safe haven for drug lords," said Gerber. 

She claimed that in the last financial year, over 230 South Africans had been arrested for abroad for drug-related crimes. 

"But there is not a single drug lord who is being implicated and arrested," she said. 

Gerber said she believed that police officials working in South Africa's airports were being bribed by drug lords to tip-off police officials in foreign countries about who was bringing in the smaller amounts of drugs. 

"These South Africans caught abroad are not drug mules. They are used as decoys. They are victims of human trafficking," she said. 

She accused the government of not taking these human trafficking allegations seriously. 

"I am so fed up," she added.

Read more on:    malaysia  |  narcotics

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