Singapore’s Appeal Court frees Nigerian suspect after nine years

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The Court of Appeal in Singapore has discharged and acquitted a Nigerian man on death row for drug trafficking, nearly a decade after he was arrested.

The country’s apex court reversed itself and found  Ilechukwu Uchechukwu Chukwudi not guilty, five years after the same court convicted him of the offence.

Ilechukwu faced a charge of trafficking almost 2kg (1,963.3g) of methamphetamine found in a black trolley bag he brought with him from Nigeria into Singapore on November 13, 2011.

He had collected the luggage at the airport in Nigeria. The luggage passed several immigrations checks in both countries without problems.

He handed the bag to a Singaporean stall assistant named Hamidah Awang at a Clarke Quay bus stop. Hamidah’s car was later searched and drugs were discovered in the luggage.

The charge was punishable by death.

Ilechukwu was acquitted in the High Court in 2014 but the appellate court reversed the decision in 2015 and found him guilty of drug trafficking.

His lawyers argued for the decision to be reviewed, saying that Ilechukwu suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PSTD).

The court upheld Ilechukwu’s lawyers’ submissions and acquitted him of the charges.

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