Colombian taxi driver faces death penalty in China
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Colombian taxi driver faces death penalty in China

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Harold Carrillo Sánchez, a poor taxi driver of Cali, Colombia, faces death penalty in Beijing for drug trafficking. His wife and three teens have spent more than one year trying to get in touch with him.

Sihanoukville. A Colombian taxi driver, Harold Carrillo Sánchez, 45, from the industrial city of Cali, has two years to appeal a death penalty ruled by a court of Beijing for drug trafficking last April, reported the Colombian Chancellery. Colombian Guillermo Álvarez also faces the death penalty. The Colombian Chancellery reported also that the Chinese authorities have detained so far 12 Colombians for drug trafficking, two of them are sentenced to death, four to life imprisonment, two to 15 years in jail and four are waiting for a sentence.

The case attracted the attention of the Colombian press as his family is unable to get in communication with Carrillo, the father of three teens. His son, Michael D. Carillo, said to Caracol Radio on July 13 [1, es] that the Chinese authorities sent the documents of the process to the Embassy in Bogotá, but the Chinese officials did not allow the family to take the documents out of that office.

Carrillo disappeared more than one year ago, according to his family who live in the impoverished barrio Alfonso Bonilla Aragón of Cali. His family said that they did not know that he got involve in drug trafficking and that he was going to China. He cannot speak any other language except Spanish, they said.

“The group of taxi drivers is too vulnerable [in Colombia.] The conditions in which we work, the debts and the financial crisis in general make many colleagues consider criminal options as the only exit,” said Johny Rangel, the president of the Union of Taxi Drivers of Cali to El País newspaper. [2] The group asked pardon for Carrillo declaring that he did not have a criminal record before and that his decision to transport drugs was a bad mistake.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia declared yesterday that it is requesting to the Chinese government to reconsider the death penalty decision on Carrillo. The communication says that the Colombian government will not accept the death penalty for its citizens. [3] The Colombian consul in Beijing requested also to visit in the next days the two Colombians sentenced to death, one in the southern Province of Guandong and the other in the city of Beijing.

Colombia and China have an agreement about assistance in judicial and criminal issues, but it does not include extradition, death penalty or repatriation of prisoners, explained the Chancellery.

Colombia, a developing nation with one of the biggest social inequality gaps, is also a leading producer and exporter of drugs, especially of cocaine. Colombian drugs are distributed mainly in the US and Spaniard markets, the two main Colombian cocaine consumers. To do so, international criminal networks with headquarters either in drug producer or consumer countries employ persons of low economical resources.