Saturday, 16 October, 2021

Colombian model facing death penalty in China over laptop drug bust

A Colombian model could face execution after being caught carrying drugs inside her laptop in China.


It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for Juliana Lopez, but this one mistake could mean the 22-year-old could face death.


The beauty queen was travelling through China, on her way home to compete in the Miss World Medellin beauty pageant after winning the competition at the district level. She had gone to China to purchase items for her trendy boutique back home.


Lopez’s family grew worried about the young woman when they lost contact with her after a few days and contacted the Colombian embassy.


Family members had called to report the traveller had disappeared, but were shocked to learn she had in fact been arrested.


Chinese officials told the family Lopez had been caught with “a large quantity of a banned substance” inside her laptop, local newspaper El Tiempo reported.


The woman’s family is now desperately trying to raise funds to be visit and cover Lopez’s legal costs. She may now face the death penalty.


Lopez has been described as a “good girl”, gifted student and contestant of beauty contests, and a promising athlete.


Her football coach, Alejandro Duque, told the newspaper she was “the central point of the group”.


“My heart tells me that she is not guilty, she is a fighter,” he said.


“She cannot be sentenced yet, I have hope that she is innocent and that everything can be sorted out.”


Her friend Lis Hernandez said she believes her friend is innocent.


“My heart tells me she is not guilty,” she said.


“You cannot condemn it yet, I have hope that he is innocent and everything is clear.”


The Colombian Foreign Ministry is reportedly assisting the young woman as the investigation goes on. It is expected to take up to two years.


Lopez joins 138 prisoners in China’s jails. China has the highest execution rate of any country, and carries out more executions than the rest of the world combined, according to Amnesty International.