Liverpool

Venezuela jail mother reunited with children

A Birkenhead mother-of-four jailed in Venezuela for drug trafficking has been reunited with her children.

Laura Webb, and ex-husband Paul Makin, were arrested in February 2009, when 53lb (24kg) of cocaine was found in their bags while on a family holiday.

The last time she saw her five-year-old twin girls, 11-year-old son, and 10-year-old daughter was when they were taken away by Venezuelan authorities.

Webb continues to maintain her innocence.

Fair Trials International has criticised the Venezuelan authorities over the conduct of the trial.

Drug smuggling

In a statement, Webb, 31, said: "It was devastating to have my children taken away from me at the airport when I had done nothing wrong.

"It took the Venezuelan authorities two years to deal with my case, and so I reluctantly decided not to appeal as it would have meant even more time spent away from my kids.

"I am now looking forward to getting on with my life and spending time with my family."

She has always denied the charges, saying she and Makin were separated and she had merely accompanied him on holiday.

She was convicted for being an accessory to drug smuggling and sentenced to four years in San Antonio prison.

Webb told the BBC in an interview just after she was arrested how she had to sleep on the floor of a cell with 13 others and would wash using a hosepipe.

Her ex husband admitted drug trafficking and remains in a Venezuelan jail.

It took months to find a lawyer willing to take on Webb's case, there were numerous delays in her trial and she was denied her right under Venezuelan law to a trial by jury, Fair Trials International said.

Chief Executive Jago Russell said: "Venezuela's lawless prisons are some of the most terrifying in the world."

Prisons in Venezuela have been reported by human rights agencies as being overcrowded, unsanitary and violent.

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