WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States welcomed Thursday the release of an American woman held in East Timor jail for nearly two months after drugs were discovered in a taxi she was sharing.
A post on a Facebook page dedicated to advocating the release of veterinarian Stacey Addison also cheered what it called “a Christmas miracle”.
However, Addison’s passport remains in the hands of East Timor authorities, the Facebook post said, adding supporters will continue their efforts on her behalf “until she has her passport in hand and is on her way home!”
Addison, who was travelling in East Timor as a tourist when she was arrested on September 5, has denied any wrongdoing.
The State Department said in a statement it “welcomes the decision of a Timor-Leste district court to release US citizen Dr Stacey Addison from prison on December 25.”
“The Department of State takes its assistance to US citizens abroad very seriously. Embassy officials continue to provide all possible consular assistance,” it added.
On Facebook, supporters said embassy staff had “worked all day on Christmas (yesterday in East Timor) to secure the paperwork for her release.”
“She has kindly been invited to stay at the guest house of the former President of East Timor and Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta,” the post said.
It added she will be checked by doctors and given time to recuperate and rest.
Addison had just crossed from Indonesia when she was detained.
She wrote on Facebook that another passenger – who was a stranger – picked up a package containing drugs, and police later arrested everyone in the car.
She was held for several days and then released, but put back in jail on October 29 after a hearing to get her passport back.
Following her conditional release in September, Addison had said that she had been informed an investigation into the case would likely take a year.