With the start of the holiday season, as it does every year, there is an increased risk of reading in the news about travelers who ignore the laws of the countries they visit and end up in jail for possessing small amounts of marijuana. It is also good to know that in many countries, if experiencing a few days in a poor-quality prison is the punishment, there are states where the risk is high, even with the death penalty. Here are seven states worldwide with the most repressive laws in this area.
In a country where it is legal to be fined for the consumption of chewing gum and flogged with a 1.2 meter stick for over 30 offenses such as graffiti on a wall, it is always better not to be caught with drugs in your pocket: more than 480 grams of soft drugs, 15 grams of cocaine or heroin found, the penalty is death by hanging. In contrast, flogging is considered a simple use, in addition to the risk of incarceration in prison.
The situation is worse in Malaysia than in neighboring Singapore, where police catch people for drug possession. Possession for drug trafficking, including marijuana, is punishable by death and can only be changed to imprisonment by a royal pardon. However, imprisonment is prescribed for small quantities.
Possession or transportation of narcotics into Iran is punishable by death; between October 11, 2012 and October 10, 2013, more than 500 people were hanged in several Iranian cities, a figure that represents a 9% increase compared to the same periodin 2012. According to authorities, 80% of those executed were convicted of drug offenses. However, imprisonment and up to 70 lashes are prescribed for simple consumption offenses.
In Indonesia, drug addiction is also a crime punishable by imprisonment, with a maximum of life imprisonment for possession of drugs, often converted to life imprisonment for 500 grams or more, but with a stipulation of a firing squad penalty.
5) Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, drug trafficking, including marijuana, is punishable by beheading, as is murder and rape. During recent years, more than half of 73 executions were carried out for drug possession. Possession for personal use is also punishable by imprisonment and corporal punishment.
With China’s rapid economic growth, drug use has increased to such an extent that the Dragon Country is now the world’s largest consumer of heroin and the second-largest consumer of cocaine. The Chinese government’s response to this phenomenon has been extremely harsh. Drug trafficking carries the death penalty, and dozens of people are affected yearly for drug possession. Drug use is not considered a criminal offense, but perhaps worse. In fact, it is regarded as a disease and can be treated after an indefinite stay in a labor and reeducation camp in the Laogai area.
7) United Arab Emirates
Winning this low ranking is the United Arab Emirates. In fact, this country does not only have the death penalty for drug possession and drug trafficking. Most frighteningly, the country’s law states that if even the slightest trace of illegal drugs is found, the person will be arrested.
For example, Englishman Keith Andrew Brown was sentenced to four years in prison after customs found 0.003 grams of marijuana on his shoes.
Since the arrival of President Rodrigo Duterte, a real war on drugs has begun. According to Philippine National Police data, more than 6,000 people have been killed in recent years, some suspected drug crimes.
Police data on drug offenses nationwide show that from 2016 to the present, some 280,000 people have been arrested for drug offenses.