Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Woman seized in Pakistan over heroin questioned in custody

ČTK |
12 January 2018

Prague/Lahore, Pakistan, Jan 10 (CTK) - The 21-year-old Czech woman who was detained at an airport in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday with nine kilos of heroin is in detention in a Lahore prison, spokeswoman for the Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry Irena Valentova told CTK on Thursday.

The same information was confirmed by Pakistani media.

According to Valentova, it may take weeks before the investigation is finished and a date has not been set for the court hearing yet.

"The seized Czech woman is currently in detention in the Kot Lakhpat prison in Lahore. The investigation should be continued by the customs officers, upon which the court could begin," Valentova said.

The Czech diplomacy is in contact with the Pakistani customs authority and has requested a consular visit of the Czech, who has not contacted the Czech ministry herself with such a request. The embassy is, however, in touch with her family, Valentova said.

According to the Pakistani daily Dawn, the woman denied that she had placed the drugs in her luggage by herself.

During a preliminary interrogation, she said this was her fourth visit to Pakistan and that her business partner's name was Tarik, Pakistani daily The Nation wrote.

The customs authority, however, refused to disclose further details to the daily.

"She was transported to the central prison in Lahore," the daily quoted one of the officers.

According to the Customs Today server, the Czech said she knew something was hidden in her luggage, but she did not know it was heroin. The authorities began investigating the case and she will be taken to court on Friday, the server wrote.

The woman was seized after she passed through two controls at the airport. She was heading for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The Pakistani customs authority said that raids were carried out by security forces in different parts of Lahore based on the information from the detained Czech.

The Czech Foreign Affairs Ministry generally warns against drug smuggling in Pakistan in its long-term travel recommendation posted on its website.

"For drug smuggling and possession, the death penalty can be imposed, although it is not applied towards foreigners as a rule," the ministry states.

Instead, foreigners are punished by an imprisonment of several years in very harsh conditions.

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