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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 July 2007, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK
British girls in court over drugs
Kotoka International Airport, Accra, Ghana
The girls were stopped at Kotoka airport in Accra
Two British girls charged with smuggling cocaine from Ghana have appeared in court in the African state.

Yasemin Vatansever and Yatunde Diya, both aged 16, have been held in cells since being arrested on 2 July.

The students, from north London, made their first appearance on Wednesday in a juvenile court in the capital, Accra.

Both deny the charges of possessing and attempting to smuggle drugs into the UK and will enter formal pleas when their trial begins on 26 July.

With no agreement currently in place for an exchange of prisoners between Britain and the west African country, the two accused face at least 10 years in jail in Ghana if found guilty.

Transit point

The pair were arrested as they tried to board a plane in Accra, allegedly carrying 6kg of cocaine said to be worth about 300,000.

They say they were not aware of drugs in their luggage and had been tricked into carrying them.

Ghana and the West African region as a whole have become a major transit point for drugs from South America destined for Europe.

British customs officials are now working with their Ghanaian counterparts to intercept drug smugglers and, since late last year, more than 30m-worth of cocaine has been seized en route to Britain from Ghana.

But the two British students are the first minors to be provisionally charged with drug smuggling in Ghana since the co-operation began.

Yasemin is the daughter of immigrants from Cyprus, while Yatunde is of Nigerian descent. Both are UK citizens.

Fair Trials Abroad is working to ensure the girls have proper legal representation in Ghana and is providing support to their families in the UK.

Details of the case against the girls

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