Czech model serving 8-year sentence for drug smuggling in Pakistan to be released
Twenty-five year old Czech model Tereza Hlušková who is serving an eight year sentence for drug trafficking in a Pakistani jailhouse has been acquitted of the charges against her and her release is expected in a matter of days. The model, who spent four years in the Kot Lakhpat jailhouse says she intends to return straight to Prague.
Tereza Hlušková, was 22 when she was arrested at the airport in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore for trafficking nine kilograms of heroin in January 2018. Although she pleaded innocent, claiming that she had come to Pakistan as a model and someone had planted the drugs in her suitcase, she was convicted and sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison for the offence in early 2019.
That same year she appealed the verdict, but due to illness and overburdened courts her case was postponed for months on end as Tereza sent tearful messages back home, asking for support.
“Please wait for me, and try to help me”
In October of this year her lawyer reported that Tereza was afraid to leave her cell for fear of contracting dengue fever or tuberculosis which had appeared among the inmates. But on November 1, her case was given a fresh hearing at the Lahore Court of Appeal and the 25-year-old heard the verdict she had been praying for.
The prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and the appeals court ordered that she be released from prison. Her lawyer Saif ul Malook told the Czech Foreign Ministry that the paperwork for her release could take a couple of days and the young woman could leave the country despite the fact that this latest verdict could still be appealed. He said Hlušková intends to return straight to Prague. Details of the verdict have yet to be released.
The Czech Foreign Ministry which has been in contact with the young woman through embassy officials, said it was working to arrange her speedy return home as soon as the paperwork had been completed.
Although the four years in a Lahore jailhouse are something the model will find hard to erase from her mind, other Czechs caught with heroin in their possession have fared worse.
The same year that she was convicted, a court in Bermuda sentenced a Czech national to 30 years in jail for possession of 2.9 kilos of heroin. Radek Hanykovic who was 36 when he was sentenced to 50 years in prison by a Thai court in 1996 for possession of 2.5 kilos of heroin died ten years later despite being repatriated back home after 8 years.
According to Czech Foreign Ministry data over 600 Czechs are currently serving prison sentences abroad, many for drug smuggling. Fourteen such new cases were reported this year alone, despite warnings from the Czech authorities that punishment for this offense can be extremely harsh in some parts of the world and arrests at airports are not uncommon.