Mule has long wait for news on appeal

NEIL REID
Last updated 05:00 23/09/2012
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 drug mule Sharon Armstrong has written of being in a state of limbo in prison in Argentina as she awaits news of her appeal.

The former Wellington civil servant is serving four-years and 10-months after 5 kilograms of cocaine was found in the false bottom of her suitcase at Buenos Aires Airport while she was in transit to London.

Armstrong was sentenced in March, about 11 months after the drugs were found, but the former deputy chief executive of the Maori Language Commission has consistently denied knowing the drugs were in her bag, claiming she was duped by a man she met online.

Writing to her supporters on her website - www.sharonarmstrong.org - she said she was awaiting an update on the start of her appeal. "While still no news on when the date for my appeal will be heard . . . I remain positive and focussed and will continue to do so regardless of the outcome," she wrote.

"As with most things here in Argentina, and the prison, the usual response to everything is ‘Espera' - wait."

Armstrong, who celebrated her 55th birthday in jail, said after her arrest that she had been "foolish".

When she was arrested in April 2011 she was travelling to London to visit a man she had met online. Shortly before leaving, her tickets were changed to go via South America, where she was asked to collect documents for the man.

Interpol attempts to locate the man have been unsuccessful.

While Armstrong awaits news on her appeal, she wrote of how some of her fellow inmates were being prepared for release.

"In bringing this update to a close, I want to wish all those girls who have returned to their own countries over the past few months much success and happiness as they adjust to life on the outside."

She also thanked her whanau and friends for their "ongoing support, aroha and belief in me".

In July she wrote: "It's so good to be able to watch some of the Olympics. "Each time I see NZ featuring in an event - win or lose - I'm overwhelmed with the pride I feel about where I come from. Go Aotearoa!"

As well as keeping her supporters up to date, the website raises funds for Armstrong's legal bid, and awareness of online dating scams.

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