Thai drug smugglers escape death sentence in Bali

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Two Thai women convicted of smuggling methamphetamine into Bali have escaped a possible death sentence on the Indonesian holiday island after a court sentenced them to 16 years in jail.

The verdict Wednesday comes four months after the pair were arrested by suspicious airport officials who found nearly a kilogramme of methamphetamine hidden under their clothes after arriving on a flight from Bangkok. Muslim-majority Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest drug laws, including the death penalty for traffickers. At the time of their October arrest, police said the Thai women could face a firing squad if found guilty.

The two Thais must also pay 1 billion rupiah (2.23 million baht) each in fines or have three more months tacked on to their sentence, the court said. Indonesia has slowed the pace of its executions in recent years despite broad public support for the penalty.

While death sentences are often reduced to long jail terms, Indonesia has executed foreign nationals in the past, including two Australian masterminds of the Bali Nine heroin gang who were shot in 2015.

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