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South African woman, jailed in Thailand, gets to speak to mother

Tara Abhasakun

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Facebook: Ashley Oosthuizen

A young South African woman, 23 year old Ashley Oosthuizen, sentenced to life in a Thai prison has finally been able to speak to her mother after nearly 3 months of Covid ‘quarantine’ (as there was an outbreak in the prison). She was sentenced after being accused and convicted by a Thai court of accepting a package of MDMA at the Koh Samui restaurant ‘Hot in the Biscuit’ in late-2020.

Ashley had worked as a kindegarden teacher on Koh Samui, and was known as a friendly face on the island. She was later laid off, and it was difficult to find a full-time job offering a work permit. She met her then-boyfriend, American expat Tristan Nettles, when he offered her a job as a manager at a new breakfast and brunch restaurant, which would secure her with a valid work permit.

Tristan is a self-confessed “international dark web drug dealer”, who used Bitcoin to make the sales and importing drugs through a school’s main office. In 2020, Ashley then signed for a package containing 250 grams of MDMA, an ingredient in ecstasy, according to a GoFundMe account.

Earlier this year, calls for Ashley’s release were renewed and several South African media outlets reported on the case after Tristan made a website outlining what he says are details on the drug operation. He claims that Ashley was not involved.

Ashley is currently incarcerated in the Nakhon Si Thammarat Central Prison, in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. On Friday, Ashley was able to speak to her mother for the first time since February. All inmates have reportedly been quarantined after a few people were infected with Covid-19.

Ashley’s mother, Lynn Blignaut, says Ashley is kept in a cell with 67 other women all sharing one bathroom. Lynn told the media outlet George Herald

“By the grace of God, our daughter was not affected at all and is still in good health and high spirits. We are able to speak with her once a month, for 10 minutes.”

George Herald reports that Tristan claims he is currently voluntarily fighting in Ukraine against Russia to put the spotlight on Ashley.

A family spokesperson, Lizelle Martin, who has been assisting with Ashley’s case, says that there was no evidence found at her apartment and “her drug tests also came back negative”.

“During her interrogation, Ashley was also afraid that she would be assaulted by the officers as the officers spoke loudly and intimidatingly to her. It is very well known that interrogations in some Thai police stations are synonymous with rape and violence. Therefore she signed the arrest report/search warrant without understanding it”, according to a quote in the George Herald article.

The Thaiger has received numerous emails from ‘Tristan Nettles’. We are unable to verify the Gmail account or the contents of the email, but publish the information as it appears to be accurate and the the letter has been republished by other media outlets.

“I am volunteering as a freedom fighter inside of Ukraine with the Wolverines, part of the Ukrainian Foreign Legion. I am a former USMC 0351. I am fighting to free Ashley Oosthuizen and to help free Ukraine.

www.freeashley.org

I am a former international dark web drug dealer. I supplied the Gulf of Thailand with LSD, XTC, MDMA, Ketamine, and high grade marijuana for almost 3 years. My name is Tristan Nettles.

I imported the drugs into the prestigious international school’s mail room that I taught Biology, Chemistry and Physics at. I did this by using the help of a fellow math teacher there who provided me with all of my bitcoin (name redacted) who still works at the same school. We did this for tens of millions of baht. I lived a lavish and party filled lifestyle while maintaining the cover as a respected school teacher.

I used the drug profits to create a business: www.hotinthebiscuit.com and then to eventually go to medical school inside Ukraine.

Ashley Oosthuizen is an innocent 23 year old South African who has been in a Thai prison for almost two years. She was given a death sentence commuted to life in prison. (Sentence redacted) I have direct and irrefutable evidence of everything.

Ashley is sick and in ill-health. She desperately needs her story reported.

SOURCE: George Herald

 

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    A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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