British woman Khadija Shah sentenced to life imprisonment in Pakistan for smuggling heroin

Shah was heavily pregnant when she was arrested and has given birth to a daughter in prison

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The Independent Online

A British woman has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Pakistan after being convicted of attempting to smuggle 63kg of heroin out of the Islamabad airport.

Khadija Shah, from Birmingham, was six-months pregnant when she was arrested at the airport in 2012 after heroin valued at a UK street value of £3.2 million was found in suitcases she had with her.

Shah denied the charges against her. The 26-year-old, who gave birth to her daughter Malaika in jail, said she was carrying the cases for someone else and did not know what was inside them.

Shah had her two other children with her at the time of her arrest. They have since returned to Britain.

Her 17-month-old daughter has remained behind bars in the Adiala Jail with her.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve's Death Penalty team, said the verdict was “a terrible outcome” for Khadija and her baby Malaika.

She said: “As happens in hundreds of cases, she was used as a drugs mule without her knowledge, and yet is facing life in a Pakistani prison.

The UK government must ensure that Khadija gets the urgent assistance she needs to appeal her sentence so that her baby doesn’t grow up behind bars.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “We are aware that a British National Khadija Shah has been given a custodial sentence in Pakistan.

“We remain in regular contact with Ms Shah and we will continue to provide her and her family with consular assistance.”