Nurse held for drug smuggling freed

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AFP

Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, right, and Tania Scivetti, lawyers for Emma Louise L'aiguille, speak during a press conference at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur -

An Australian nurse who faced the death penalty after being accused of drug trafficking was freed on Friday by a Malaysian court after prosecutors dropped the charges.

Emma Louise L'Aiguille, 34, was charged in a Kuala Lumpur court in July along with a Nigerian man, Anthony Esikalam Ndidi, after police arrested them for allegedly possessing one kilo (2.2 pounds) of methamphetamines.

Drug trafficking carries a mandatory death sentence by hanging in Malaysia, where hundreds of people are on death row, mostly for drug offences.

Anyone found to be in possession of at least 50 grams of methamphetamine is considered a trafficker.

L'Aiguille, from Melbourne, was in a car with her co-defendant when police swooped and found drugs in the vehicle.

Her lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the defence had argued that L'Aiguille had no knowledge of the drugs in the vehicle.

“The charges against her have been dropped by the prosecutors. She is a free woman now. She is somewhere in the city,” he told AFP.

Shafee said that L'Aiguille was freed on the condition that she remains in the country and obtains prior permission to travel abroad because prosecutors may require further evidence from her.

Another Australian, Dominic Jude Christopher Bird, 32, was charged with trafficking methamphetamines in March. The case is still before the courts.

Since 1960, more than 440 people have been executed in Malaysia, including two Australians put to death in 1986 for heroin trafficking - the first Westerners to be executed under tough new anti-drug laws. - Sapa-AFP


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