Chloe Collins, 23, from Kraaifontein Photo: Facebook

Cape Town – The family of Chloe Collins is in despair over her arrest and prolonged, "wrongful" detainment in Oman in the Middle East – allegedly for a crime her brother was supposed to have committed.

The 23-year-old Collins, from Kraaifontein, arrived in Oman in April to work in the hospitality industry but less than three weeks later she was detained by police.

Her family insist she has been wrongfully detained since May 9 and may be denied the right to a fair trial and access to justice.  

Her brother, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is currently in a mental institution in South Africa, is suspected of involvement in a crime in the country before returning to South Africa. He has, however, not been charged with any crime. 

Oman authorities arrested her in the wake of investigations and are now demanding his return in exchange for her. Collins has no legal representation in Oman and the family have no access to the formal charges and police dockets.

Unless legal representation can be secured in Oman, Collins will be transferred to a larger prison where conditions are fearful.

Her divorced parents have no means to finance legal fees and a Back-a-Buddy campaign has been launched for donations to assist with expenses. 

A petition has also been set up imploring the South African government to intervene and help #FreeChloe, which had been signed by over 3 000 people by this afternoon.

Lawyer Simone Carolissen is totally in the dark about the Oman government's actions, EWN reported.

"We don't know what they are speaking about. We don't have any charges. Any formal charges that have been made against Chloe, we have no idea.

"What has come to light, though, is that they said they'll release Chloe if we send her brother to Oman, which is not going to happen because we don't know what she is being held for we don't know what they are speaking about."

Carolissen said they had reached out to various South African government departments for help.

"We've written to the Department of International Relations, to the Department of Justice, we've reached out to political parties but the buck has been passed."

However, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said it would make contact with its embassy in Oman regarding the details of this case.