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General News of Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Source: Ghana Celebrities

"Coke Teens" Sentencing Delayed Again

A juvenile court in Accra has deferred, for a second time, sentencing of the two British teenagers found guilty of smuggling six kilograms of cocaine to allow a social services report to be taken into consideration.

Yatunde Diya and Yasemin Vatansever were arrested on July 2 at Kotoka International airport when anti-drugs officers found cocaine worth 300,000 pounds in laptop bags they were carrying as they boarded a flight to London.

The two, both 16, were found guilty in November last year. They are now due to be sentenced on January 23.

Sentencing had originally been due in early December but was delayed until Wednesday so the court could consider a social services report from London on the girls.

"We got word from the Ghana social welfare department that they have not finished studying the report," British High Commission spokesman Gary Nicholls told reporters.

"Since they are expected to add their comments before submitting it to the court, the judge has agreed to give them a further two weeks," he said, adding the judge would not allow any further delay beyond Jan. 23.

The teenagers, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, have said they were tricked into carrying the bags by male acquaintances in Ghana and Britain, and did not know their content.

The two were arrested under Operation Westbridge, a project set up by Britain and Ghana to tackle drug smugglers using Accra airport as a gateway to Britain and Europe.

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