Ethiopia: Ethiopian diplomat jailed for attempting to smuggle drugs

August 3, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – A court in London on Thursday sentenced an Ethiopian diplomat for almost three years in prison on charges of attempting to smuggle large amount of cannabis.

Amelework Wondemagegne was caught last year at London ’s Heathrow airport with 56 kilograms of cannabis packed in three suitcases.

Wondemagegne at first said that a man in Addis Ababa Airport gave her the bags and she thought it was meat and spices. However she eventually has admitted of smuggling the drugs.

The 36 year-old mother of two sought diplomatic immunity, for which the court found her note entitled.

“The fact that you smuggled these drugs in the expectation that you would not be prosecuted if you were caught because of your diplomatic status is a significant factor in this case.” judge Richard McGregor-Johnson was quoted as saying.   After she served her jail term of 33 months she will be deported from Britain .   According to police, the slabs of cannabis found in her possession have a street value of US$249,000.   Based in Washington DC , Wondemagegne, works at visa section of the Ethiopian embassy since 2006.   (ST)

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