Countries With Severe Anti Drug Laws
It goes without saying that people shouldn’t take illegal drugs, but many do to a greater or lesser extent. In this country, as in much of Europe, some possession of drugs, at least for personal use, is tolerated, or at least only brings light penalties.
However, there are many parts of the world where that’s not the case. In some countries if you’re caught with illegal drugs, even in minute quantities, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. Never travel with drugs, and don’t buy them abroad. Certainly you should never agree to transport drugs for people, and always pack your luggage yourself to prevent someone planting drugs on you.
The Harshest Drug PenaltiesTime in prison is bad enough, but there are a number of countries where the price for being found with illegal drugs goes beyond that. Several countries, including Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, are among those that have the ultimate penalty - death - as an option for drug possession, and they’re not afraid to use it. The amount of drugs to warrant something so severe is enough to have you classed as a trafficker, but even having less will mean anything from flogging to a prison sentence and very heavy fines. Singapore has executed over 400 people for drugs, while Iran reportedly kills 500 people a year for drugs offences. China, too, is part of the death club for drugs offences, as is Saudi Arabia, where those convicted of drug trafficking can end up beheaded in public.
You won’t end up dead in Cyprus or Greece, but you could end up with life in prison. In China, too, you could escape the death penalty, but end up spending the rest of your days in prison. All of the countries mentioned above also have very long prison terms for offenders who escape death.
Harsh SentencesParts of the Middle East, especially the Gulf States, treat drug possession harshly. In Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, even possession of miniscule amounts of marijuana – too small to be seen – can result in several years in prison.
In Indonesia you’d be looking at 10 to 15 years for drug possession, while in others places like Malaysia and Singapore it can range up to 50 years. Serious drugs charges in Tunisia can land you in jail for up to 20 years.
Turkey’s jails are notorious, and a drugs conviction could mean you’d be seeing the inside of one for up to 20 years. Smoke cannabis in India and you could lose 10 years of your life behind bars. If you’re caught smuggling drugs in Venezuela, it’s at least 10 years, while Morocco has a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine for possession. Perhaps surprisingly, Jamaica is tough on drugs possession, with mandatory jail terms and heavy fines even for possessing small quantities of drugs.
Even Europe isn’t all liberal in its attitude to drugs. Not only does Greece have life in prison as a deterrent, but Italy can put you away for up to 20 years, and Spain is only slightly less lenient – a maximum of 12 years.
What To Do If You’re CaughtIf you’re a British citizen overseas and arrested on drugs charges, you have the right to see the British consul – in fact, the local police are obliged to contact the Consulate or High Commission. Be aware, however, that they can’t do much. They can’t get you out of jail, or even see that you obtain better living conditions.
The solution, of course, is to not use or carry drugs abroad. Don’t be tempted to take them in your luggage for money or let yourself be tricked into it.