Egypt hands Ukrainian life sentence for drug smuggling

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A Cairo court has sentenced to life in prison a Ukrainian woman arrested at the Egyptian capital’s airport with a bag of cocaine, a judicial source said Sunday.

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Liudmyla Balakina, who lives in the Netherlands, had been convicted of drug smuggling following her arrest in April upon arrival from Qatar with “four kilograms (about nine pounds) of cocaine” in her luggage, the source told AFP.

She was also handed a fine of 100,000 Egyptian pounds ($3,683), and can still appeal the verdict.

Balakina had confessed in court to “meeting an Egyptian abroad, who took advantage of her need for money”, state media reported.

It said the Egyptian “paid her $2,500 to enter the country” with the drugs.

In 2019, Egypt increased punishment for drug smugglers to include the death penalty.

Eight foreigners were sentenced to death last year for smuggling more than two tons of heroin via the Red Sea.

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