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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 March, 2005, 19:56 GMT 20:56 UK
Court hearing for drug charge man
John Packwood
John Packwood says he could not have been involved in smuggling
A man held in a Spanish prison on drug smuggling charges for six months has asked a court not to send him to Morocco to face trial.

John Packwood, from the Isle of Wight, was a member of a crew that took a boat from Southampton to Morocco in 1997.

The ship - with a new crew - was found with two tonnes of Cocaine 10 weeks later. Mr Packwood was arrested on an international warrant last year.

He will learn the outcome of his extradition hearing in about 10 days.

The inability to prove his own innocence is really frustrating and not knowing when it's ever going to end
Jane Amestoy
Girlfriend
Mr Packwood's case has been taken up by the charity Fair Trials Abroad, and is supported by a number of MEPs.

They say he could not possibly be guilty as the boat was searched when it arrived in Morocco and drugs are almost never smuggled from the UK to Africa rather the other way round.

Fair Trials Abroad head Steven Jacobi said they were fighting to keep Mr Packwood in Spain.

"If he is extradited to Morocco then we've lost a major strategic battle," he said.

"What we're hoping to do is to play it long in Spain so that the Moroccan lawyer can get the warrant withdrawn.

"There can't possibly be any connection between delivering a boat and drugs being found three months later with a different crew - it's a ridiculous and fanciful supposition."

He said the charity doubted whether Mr Packwood, 41, would get a fair trial in Morocco - though a recent visit had given him more hope.

The prisoner's girlfriend, Jane Amestoy, says he had been finding it very difficult in jail.

"It's a daily survival for him, lack of communication from the outside world, knowing what's going on," she said.

"The inability to prove his own innocence is really frustrating and not knowing when it's ever going to end."




SEE ALSO:
Hope for Spanish drug charge man
03 Mar 05 |  Hampshire
Sailor's Spanish jail nightmare
26 Nov 04 |  Hampshire


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