Danish woman extradited

Johanne Vinther Axelsen, 55, appears at Phnom Penh Municipal Court last year. Axelsen, who received a 15-year sentence for trafficking illegal medicines , was extradited to her native Denmark this month.
Phnom Penh Post
A DANISH woman sentenced to 15 years in prison for mailing thousands of codeine and Valium tablets out of Cambodia last year has been extradited to her native country, a prison official confirmed Sunday.

Johanne Vinther Axelsen was extradited to Denmark March 17, according to Heng Hak, director of the prisons department at the Ministry of Interior.

The move comes 14 months after Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Axelsen, 55, to a lengthy prison term on charges of drug trafficking.In an interview with the Post last year, Axelsen said she would be allowed to return to Denmark if she paid US$20,000 – a sum she refused, she said, because she did not want “to pay any money to the corrupt court officials, who will use the money to buy a luxury house and car”.

Heng Hak confirmed that Axelsen’s extradition this month came after a cash payment, but he said he did not know the sum.

“We did not release her for free,” Heng Hak said.

“Nobody can release her without a court verdict.”

Court officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.

According to media reports, Axelsen’s extradition was secured after a Danish citizen, Mikkel Hass, agreed to donate US$8,000 in cash.

The Web site scandasia.com quoted him as saying he viewed the payment as a donation.

“I think more Danes should show empathy when other Danes are … suffering under unfair circumstances abroad,” Hass was quoted as saying.

Axelsen was convicted in January after she was caught mailing roughly 10,000 codeine and Valium tablets from Cambodia to the United States and the United Kingdom.

Axelsen told the Post at the time that she did not know it was illegal to mail the tablets. It was her son, she said, who urged her to send the shipment.

Still, she said, she held no animosity towards her son.

“I don’t blame him for anything,” she said. “I was na├»ve.”

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