Daily: No progress made on two Estonian women imprisoned in Peru

Seized cocaine being weighed (picture is illustrative).
Seized cocaine being weighed (picture is illustrative). Source: ERR

Two Estonian women jailed for a drug-related crime in the South American country of Peru are unable to return to Estonia under a prisoner exchange according to daily Postimees.

Negotiations between Estonia and Peru have so far foundered on Peruvian authorities' unwillingness to come to a deal, or even respond to Estonian proposals, BNS reports.

The two women, Anneli Kolk and Anne-Maarja Gross, were detained at Cusco airport in southern Peru in October 2013, after being found with nearly six kilograms of cocaine concealed in their carry-on baggage.

The pair were sentenced to almost nine years in jail by a Peruvian court in February 2014 serving their sentence in a Cusco prison.

In the worst-case scenario, the women will be able to leave Peru in late 2022.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a note to Peru on July 3, 2018, forwarding Estonia's amendment proposals to the draft agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons, according to Leen Lindam, media adviser foreign ministry, in the latest round of attempted negotiations ongoing since November 2014, but to no avail so far.

Another diplomatic note is set to be sent this year, Lindam added.

"This year, we will take on the contract again and send a new note," Lindam added.

As Estonia has no full representation in Peru, the ministry is in contact with the Estonian citizens via the honorary consul in Lima, according to BNS.

According to BNS there has been no public information available as to how the women are coping prison in Peru.

"Due to the obligation to protect personal data and the fact that consular assistance cases are sensitive, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot disclose information regarding specific consular assistance cases," Lindam added.

In September 2014, Harju County Court found Nigerian national Moses Uluata Tite, who was resident in in Spain, guilty of inducing Kolk and Gross to handling and smuggling large amounts of a narcotic substance, and sentenced him to three years and four months imprisonment. 

Tite was tracked down in spring 2014 and extradited from Spain to Estonia, where was held in custody from April 4. After completing his sentence in 2017, he was deported from Estonia and received a five-year ban on reentering the country.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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