Mom of Russian sentenced to death in China says son innocent

The mother of Russian national Ildar Sultanov, whom China recently sentenced to death for an attempt to smuggle 2 kilograms of heroin into the country, believes her son is innocent and pins hopes on his deportation.

The 33-year-old Russian was detained at the airport in the city of Urumqi in May 2010. Under Chinese law, the convicted man may see his sentence commuted to life if he demonstrates good behavior in jail. The death sentence is due to be carried out in two years.

Sultanov’s mother, Nasima, does not believe that her son could have been engaged in drug trafficking. She said Ildar was working for a private Moscow company trading cell phones, and in May 2010 he arrived in China to buy a package of gadgets.

“In his last letter after he was arrested… he wrote that he was set up,” she said.

Russian diplomats are in contact with the man and the Chinese Justice Ministry. The woman said she asked the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in China to help her arrange a meeting with her son but neither of the organizations has replied yet.

“I am looking for help from the Russian Embassy in China and rights activists who will help me insist on a meeting with my son and his subsequent deportation to Russia.”

Five Japanese nationals were executed on drug smuggling charges in April 2010 and a British national was executed in 2009.

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