Czech model imprisoned in Pakistan over drugs is acquitted

·1-min read
Tereza Hluskova after her sentencing in March 2019 (AFP/ARIF ALI)

A Czech model sentenced to over eight years in prison for drug trafficking in Pakistan has been acquitted, her lawyer said on Monday.

Tereza Hluskova, 25, was arrested at the airport in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore for trafficking nine kilogrammes of heroin in January 2018.

"The prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the court ordered that she be released from prison," her lawyer Saif ul Malook told AFP.

The paperwork for her release order will take up to one week to process, Malook added.

He said Hluskova intends to return straight to Prague.

"Based on information from (her) lawyer, we can confirm a court of appeals has decided to acquit the Czech national in Pakistan," the Czech foreign ministry said in a tweet.

Footage released by Pakistani customs officials showed authorities uncovering drugs hidden in her suitcase as she was trying to board a flight headed for the United Arab Emirates.

Hluskova, who was sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison and a fine in March 2019, has insisted someone had placed the drugs in her suitcase.

Pakistan shares a long porous border with Afghanistan, which is the world's largest illicit opium producer despite a decade of costly US and international counter-narcotics programmes.

Drug trafficking is a serious offence in Pakistan and arrests at airports are not uncommon.

The South Asian nation is part of the drug-smuggling routes from Afghanistan to Central Asia, Europe and North America.

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