A South African woman originally sentenced to death in Thailand is hoping for a royal pardon from the Thai monarchy after her boyfriend in the US confessed he was the one that had been dealing drugs at her place of work without her knowledge.
Ashley Oosthuizen had moved to Thailand from South Africa in 2018 shortly after finishing school.
She was arrested on 8th October 2020 and initially received the death sentence in Thailand for drug-related charges.
Following a subsequent appeal, her sentence was commuted to life behind bars in August 2021.
The 22-year-old South African woman has always maintained her innocence, and her ex-boyfriend in America has recently come forwards, claiming she was jailed because of his illegal activities.
The man, name not disclosed, contacted the South African newspaper George Herald and also issued a statement saying that Oosthuizen has been wrongly imprisoned.
When a George Herald journalist asked him why he did not return to Thailand to admit his guilt, he is quoted as saying: “Because accepting a life sentence for importing harmless MDMA for consenting adults after governments just forcibly vaccinated [millions] against their will with experimental cocktails would be bowing to tyrants. I do not bow to tyrants.
“Had I come sooner, no one would listen. Now that I have websites, a business, a book, and more, now Ashley can no longer be ignored.”
He added: “Ashley’s only crime was being my girlfriend.”
According to reports, Oosthuizen met the man at a Halloween party in 2019 when she was 19 years old and he was 32.
He said he used to arrange for drugs packages to be mailed to the school where Oosthuizen worked before she lost the job and started employment at a restaurant.
Like with the school, the man said he would arrange for the drugs to be mailed and collected before the end of the day. He said his then-girlfriend was unaware of what was happening.
When she was arrested, she had just accepted a package from a courier on behalf of her boyfriend’s pal.
Officers arrived 10 minutes later and reportedly found 250 grammes of MDMA in the package.
South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said it is aware of Oosthuizen’s case and is supporting her family.
DIRCO spokesperson Clayson Monyela said: “The department, as well as the SA Embassy in Bangkok, is providing her and her family in South Africa with the standard consular assistance applicable to such cases.
“The SA Government is not in a position to intervene in any legal aspects, court hearings and judicial processes in a foreign country.”
South African media reported this week that Oosthuizen is eligible for consideration for a royal pardon, granted in Thailand on special occasions.
Similar to the UK where royal pardons, exercised at the discretion of the monarchy, remain a part of the judicial system as the ‘royal prerogative of mercy’, Thai royals can also step in when necessary.
While a decision is being made, Oosthuizen is reportedly being treated well in the Thai prison and everything is in line with international human rights standards.
It is unclear when Oosthuizen will receive confirmation either way on the possible pardon.