Greek prison Scot Conor Howard granted bail over drugs charge

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Conor Howard
Image caption,
Conor Howard still faces a year in a Qatari jail despite being granted bail

A Scottish engineer who faces a year in a Qatari jail over a drugs charge, has been granted bail in Greece.

Conor Howard was detained at the airport in Corfu at the end of August on his way to visit his parents in their holiday home.

He had been questioned and released in Qatar last October when authorities found a herb grinder in his luggage.

Mr Howard, from Tranent, East Lothian, still faces extradition to Qatar and cannot travel back to Scotland.

The 27-year-old was held in jail in Greece on an international arrest warrant issued by Qatari authorities.

They claim he passed through the country with drugs paraphernalia on a brief stopover while travelling from Australia to the UK.

Mr Howard was arrested after they found a small plastic herb grinder he had bought legally in Australia as a joke gift for a friend in Scotland.

He was unaware that he had been tried and convicted in his absence and sentenced to 12 months in jail in the Middle Eastern state.

At an extradition hearing on Thursday, Mr Howard was released on bail and will return to his parents' holiday home within 24 hours.

Image source, Detained in Dubai
Image caption,
Conor Howard was on his way to visit his step father and mother when he was arrested in Greece

Radha Stirling, of campaign group Detained in Dubai, is representing the family.

She said: "He should never have been locked up in a Corfu jail in the first place. At the whim of a country notorious for Interpol and extradition abuse, a European country has been used as a conduit to unfairly detain a British national.

"Qatar has been responsible for a number of arrests and detentions inside the EU over the past 24 months. In none of these cases, were the victims extradited and in all cases I have dealt with, the victims were released and removed from Interpol's database.

"What this demonstrates is Qatar's misuse of Interpol.

"Although Conor has been finally granted bail, Greece has allowed Qatar until 4 November to present further evidence, meaning Conor is not allowed to return to Scotland and still risks being extradited to a desert prison."