Pakistani court sentences British woman to life in prison for smuggling drugs

shah_pakistan_pregnant_drug_smuggling_03_18_14.jpg

British prisoner Khadija Shah, who was convicted of attempting to smuggle narcotics, covers her face as she walks past photographers in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on March 18, 2014.

Credit:

FAROOQ NAEEM

A Pakistani court sentenced a British woman — who gave birth behind bars — to life in prison on Tuesday for trying to smuggle approximately 139 pounds of heroin out of the country.

Khadija Shah was pregnant and traveling with her two other children when she was detained at an airport in Islamabad on May 2012, according to Reprieve, a British legal charity. 

The charity said the 26-year-old Birmingham woman has always denied the charges, and that she was manipulated by drug dealers.

“This is a terrible outcome for Khadija and her baby Malaika," said Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty team. "As happens in hundreds of cases, she was used as a drugs mule without her knowledge, and yet is facing life in a Pakistani prison."

“The UK government must ensure that Khadija gets the urgent assistance she needs to appeal her sentence so that her baby doesn’t grow up behind bars.”

While her two older children were returned to Birmingham, her baby Malaika is in the prison, BBC reported.

Malaika has not received immunizations, and tuberculosis swept through the prison two years ago.

Shah's lawyer has pledged to appeal the sentence.

A spokesperson at the British Foreign Office told the Independent it is aware of the case.

“We remain in regular contact with Ms. Shah and we will continue to provide her and her family with consular assistance,” the spokesperson said.

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