Hong Kong (CNN)The first Ismiraldha Abdullah knew that her mother might be in trouble was when she came home from school in Singapore to find her aunt sobbing, holding a letter in Chinese. It was October 2015 and the letter said Ismiraldha’s mother, Siti Aslinda Binte Junaidi, had been arrested in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on suspicion of drug trafficking, and could face the death penalty.Ismiraldha was shocked. She said she had had little idea what her mother was doing in China, only that she had gone there looking for work, and while she cried along with her aunt at the news, the then 12-year-old still didn’t truly understand what was going on.Almost five years later, Aslinda, now 35, and another Singaporean, 44-year-old Mohd Yusri Bin Mohd Yussof, were found guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced to death in July 2020.Yusri’s sentence was suspended for two years, meaning it may be downgraded to life imprisonment. Aslinda — deemed to have played a more active role in the crime — faces execution if her final appeal, which could be heard at any time, is not successful. Back in Singapore, her family is trying desperately to save her from this fate, through diplomatic channels and the Chinese legal system, where acquittals are incredibly rare.