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Two French women jailed on drugs charges freed on Christmas pardon

Latest update : 2009-12-29

Two French women who spent 18 months behind bars in the Dominican Republic for drug smuggling were freed on Tuesday after receiving a Christmas pardon from the country's president, Leonel Fernandez.

AFP - Two French women walked free from jail in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday after 18 months behind bars for drug smuggling, a French government spokeswoman said.

Sarah Zaknoun, 19, and Celine Faye, 20, were "very, very happy" to be free, said the spokeswoman for Alain Joyandet, the French development minister who was on the Caribbean island to greet them.

The two were sentenced to eight years in jail last year after being found with six kilograms (13 pounds) of cocaine in their luggage, which they said was planted on them without their knowledge.

They were freed in a Christmas pardon granted last week by Dominican President Leonel Fernandez.

Joyandet warned: "This nice Christmas tale must not make us forget that drug traffickers continue to destroy lives and abuse the naivety of our youngsters," according to his spokeswoman.

The two women were due to speak by telephone with French first lady, the ex-model Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Joyandet said her intervention was decisive in their release.


Date created : 2009-12-29