Source: BBC News
Date: 25 April 2005

Tourist in UAE jail over medicine

picture of Tracy Wilkinson
Tracy Wilkinson was on holiday when she was arrested at the airport

A British woman is being held in a prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after prescription drugs were allegedly found in her urine.

Tracy Wilkinson, 44, from Balcombe, West Sussex, has been in jail since 5 March when she was arrested at Dubai airport over an error on her passport.

Codeine and temazepam were then found when she provided a urine specimen.

The Foreign Office said she was getting appropriate consular support but her ex-husband said she was "very down".

Four year sentence

Mother-of-two Ms Wilkinson, a sports osteopath, was on holiday in the UAE when she was arrested.

She has access to a lawyer but a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said it "could not intervene in the legal process of another country".

Codeine is banned by the Arab nation, and the presence of such drugs in the body is counted as possession and carries a minimum sentence of four years imprisonment.

Her former husband, Robin Wilkinson, a 50-year-old retired police officer, said he hoped she could be freed next weekend.

Mr Wilkinson, from Handcross, West Sussex, said: "She appeared in court on Saturday but the case was adjourned for another week, there is so much red tape.

"Tracy is very down and is getting tired.

"She's in a bad way but she'll pull through it. She's a strong lady.

"I have been told that she could get four years if found guilty but I am sure she'll be released, and hopefully on Saturday."

Mr Wilkinson said he had been assured by the British Embassy everything was being done that could be and said it was a case of having to accept another country's system.

The campaign group, Fair Trials Abroad, has taken up Ms Wilkinson's case, and has urged both the British and UAE governments to intervene.

Director Stephen Jacobi said: "This is clearly a case that should have been resolved weeks ago.

"This poor woman has been in jail for seven weeks."

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