Thursday, August 02, 2012

Ethiopian embassy official tried to claim diplomatic immunity after smuggling three suitcases of cannabis into Heathrow

(Aug 02, 2012, London Evening Standard)--An Ethiopian embassy official who attempted to claim diplomatic immunity after trying to smuggle cannabis into the UK has been jailed.

Amelework Wondemagegne
Mother-of-two Amelework Wondemagegne, a diplomat based in Washington DC, was stopped at Heathrow Airport carrying three suitcases containing 56 kilograms (123lb) of herbal cannabis with a street value of £160,000, Isleworth Crown Court in west London was told.

The 36-year-old initially said a man had given her the bags before she departed from Addis Ababa airport, and she then tried to claim diplomatic immunity. But the court found she was not entitled to it and she was jailed for 33 months after admitting one count of drugs smuggling today.

Judge Richard McGregor-Johnson, the Recorder of Kensington and Chelsea, told her: "The fact that you smuggled these drugs in the expectation that you would not be prosecuted if you were caught because of your diplomatic status is a significant factor in this case."

The diplomat, who had worked in the visa section of the embassy since 2006, travelled into the UK on April 7 using an Ethiopian diplomatic passport and had a ticket to return to the US on April 17. Read more the original article from London Evening Standard »

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