Ismael Arciniegas, 72 years of age, is the first Colombian to be executed by China for drug trafficking.

TODAY COLOMBIA – Ismael Arciniegas is the first Colombian to executed in China for drug trafficking.The execution is took place on 27 February 2017.

Colombia’s Foreign Ministry on Monday protested to China in a last-minute diplomatic effort to stop the death penalty from being applied against one of its nationals.

Juan José Herrera, son Ismael Arciniegas Valencia, told the press he was able to speak to his father, who was happy he was going to soon be seeing his dead relatives. Photo El País

“He is very happy that he is going to heaven,” said Juan Herrera, Arciniegas’ son, who told the media he was able to talk to his father by phone.

“We already spoke with him, we had a half-hour conversation where we were able to say good-bye to him, we were very calm, very happy, because he said he was going to meet his relatives who had died,” said Herrera.

Photo El Pais

Arciniegas, 72 years of age, from Cali, Valle del Cauca was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to a death penalty in 2013 after he admitting that he was carrying almost four kilos of cocaine, in Guangzhou, China, enough to be sentenced to death, despite his confession.

Arciniegas was found carrying the illegal drugs strapped to his body.

A report by El Tiempo, the Bogota daily, says Arcinieagas was 74.

This is the second time the Arciniegas Valencia lives tragedy at the hands of drug trafficking. Two years and five months ago, Ismael’s brother, Luis Germán Arciniegas, died in Hong Kong of a stroke while he was in detentnion the penitentiary centre in Macao province.

Luis Germán Arciniegas had been arrested on June 23, 2011 in with drugs and sentenced to 12 years and 3 months in prison. The ashes of Luis Germán were repatriated to Colombia and the Chancellery gave them to his daughter.

Currently, there 163 Colombians in jail in China, 147 for drug trafficking. Four other Colombians sentenced to death: Three, whose sentences have been ratified, one under appeal. 

Some 15,000 Colombians are imprisoned around the world, the majority for drug trafficking. Of those, 15 in China have been sentenced to death and an equal number to life imprisonment.

Since November, China has repatriated two convicted Colombian drug traffickers for humanitarian reasons so they could complete their sentences at home.


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Article originally appeared on Today Colombia and is republished here with permission.