'Our hope is to prove her innocence': Thailand reduces SA woman's drug smuggling sentence

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South African Ashley Oosthuizen is serving time in jail in Thailand for smuggling drugs. Photo: Facebook
South African Ashley Oosthuizen is serving time in jail in Thailand for smuggling drugs. Photo: Facebook
  • The Thailand authorities have reduced the sentence of SA woman arrested for smuggling drugs.
  • Her sentence was reduced from a full life term, to 33 years and four months.
  • Her family says they will be appealing her sentence.

Authorities in Thailand have reduced the sentence of a South African woman who was arrested for smuggling drugs in 2020.

The appeal court in Koh Samui reduced Ashley Oosthuizen's sentence from a full life sentence (50 - 100 years) to 33 years and four months.

Speaking to News24 on Saturday, Oosthuizen's mother Lynn Blignaut said they were grateful for small miracles.

"We are very happy about the outcome for the moment. We did expect to just get Ashley on a plane and get her back home, however this was not the case," she said.

Blignaut said they are still awaiting the full translation of the court outcome to prevent confusion caused by the language barrier.

"As we understand, it has been reduced now from a full sentence to 33 years and four months."

Oosthuizen has received a 30 day appeal, with the hopes to be acquitted.

Blignaut said they are already busy with new lawyers discussing the necessary steps to be taken.

"Our hopes for the appeal is to prove her innocence, if possible to bring things that were left out previously into the light."

READ | Family, friends call for release of SA woman serving life in Thai prison for drug smuggling

News24 previously reported Oosthuizen had received a death penalty sentence for international drug trafficking, commuted to life in prison on 18 August 2021.

She had moved to Thailand after matriculating in 2018 and apparently secured employment as a teacher.

Blignaut said Oosthuizen was doing well under the circumstances.

"She is a strong girl, her faith is getting stronger by the day and yes, praise him [God] for every little favour that we get," she said.

International Relations and Cooperation Department spokesperson Clayson Monyela previously told News24: "The department, as well as the SA Embassy in Bangkok, is providing her and her family in South Africa with the standard consular assistance applicable to such cases".

He said the South African government was not in a position to intervene in any legal aspects, court hearings and judicial processes in a foreign country.



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