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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 22:25 GMT
Jailed Briton has sentence cut
Dubai is one of the seven UAE countries
A British woman jailed for life in the United Arab Emirates for drugs offences has had her sentence reduced to 10 years on appeal.

Anna Bartlett, 23, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, was convicted in May of "using, trafficking and importing drugs" into the UAE.

She had admitted carrying drugs from Germany to the UAE and taking cocaine before arriving in the Emirates, but denied trafficking or intent to sell the drugs.

She had been sentenced to life and ordered to pay the equivalent of 10,000 by a court in the northern emirate of Ras al-Khaimah.

After Tuesday's hearing she said she was relieved and very happy at the sentence.

'Hearing voices'

Bartlett was among a group of eight people, including up to five Britons, to be arrested on various drugs charges last year.

Police said the group had smuggled about 500 grams (1lb) of pure cocaine and small quantities of hashish into the UAE, by swallowing and regurgitating it.

The prosecution had called for Barlett to be executed.

Bartlett smiled widely as the judge's verdict was translated from Arabic to English, and later said the prospect of the death penalty had been frightening.
Anna Bartlett
Anna Bartlett received a life sentence

Her father, Philip Bartlett, 52, said from his home in Southend: "This is a terrific step. But I have nothing against the UAE. I am very pleased and it's a very nice start to getting her home."

Mr Bartlett, a former English teacher, said his daughter, faced with the prospect of execution or a life sentence, had been "banging her head and hearing voices".

But he said that, following successful electro-convulsive therapy, she was now "calm".

False passport

Another woman whose false British passport identified her as Anne Kidd, 32, of Leeds, also had her sentence reduced from life to 10 years.

A British man, Daniel Maalouf, had his 10-year sentence for intent to deal in drugs reduced to four years.

A Manchester man who has given his name as Stacey Simpson, but is known to have been travelling on a false British passport, and an airline stewardess, Katherine Jenkins, from Neath, south Wales, were cleared of all charges in Ras Al-Khaimah.

It is understood Maalouf, Simpson, and Jenkins will now face separate but related charges in Dubai.

Another alleged member of the group, Australian Heidi Deboer, will also now face the unspecified drug charges in Dubai.

The seventh alleged member of the group, Lebanese national Abdul Hamid Dandashi, 25, was jailed for four years for drug use.

The eighth defendant, Gilbert Bilal, 24, was convicted in March of drug trafficking and sentenced to life in prison.

Although no drug-related executions have been carried out in the UAE, under national law foreign drug traffickers can be sentenced to death.

The BBC's Julia Wheeler
"She said she was relieved and very happy at the sentence"
See also:

21 May 01 | Middle East
Drug charge Britons to appeal
20 May 01 | Middle East
Life for drug charge Britons
17 Apr 01 | Middle East
Judges study drugs charges in secret
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