Kiwi kept waiting in Argentinian prison

TOM HUNT
Last updated 10:22 29/07/2013
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The police photograph of Sharon Armstrong when she was detained in Argentina.
JAILED: The police photograph of Sharon Armstrong when she was detained in Argentina.

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Convicted Kiwi cocaine smuggler Sharon Armstrong remains stuck in an Argentinian prison three months after she should be home.

The former deputy chief executive of the Maori Language Commission was arrested on April 13, 2011, after five kilograms of cocaine was found in her bag at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires.

Armstrong has always denied knowing the cocaine was in a secret compartment of her bag, saying she was tricked into carrying it by a man she had met online.

In March last year, the 55-year- old was sentenced to a four-year, 10-month jail term, a lenient sentence after the judge accepted she was duped.

Armstrong's sentence was reduced further on appeal and she hoped to be home in April this year, but those plans have been cancelled after further legal action.

The Argentinean state prosecutor has appealed against Armstrong's reduction, arguing her appeal proceeded under new minimum sentence rules that were introduced after her conviction.

After a few months of silence on her blog, Armstrong has now issued a public statement, talking of the necessity of patience.

''So with that in mind as I pass 2 years 3 months in here and 3 months passed when I should have returned home, I am still waiting and remaining positive that the day will soon come.''

Despite the state prosecutor failing in his appeal, still no release date had been set.

Other women in the prison were facing similar hurdles to release despite their sentences being over.

''Some face difficulties with airlines refusing to take them or judges who have yet to sign their expulsion papers.  Though while very frustrating and upsetting, we all know that eventually, we will return to our respective countries.''

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