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US woman's return stalled after East prison release due to court holiday

Reuters - December 30, 2014

An American woman arrested in East Timor and released from prison on Christmas Day is staying at the home of former president Jose Ramos-Horta until her passport is returned.

Dr Stacey Addison, a veterinarian from Portland in Oregon, was initially detained when a man with whom she was sharing a cab ride in the East Timorese countryside was arrested on drug charges in September.

Released five days later without her passport, she was re-arrested and sent to prison in late October after appearing in a court hearing to retrieve her travel documents.

After nearly two months of quiet diplomacy by US officials, Dr Addison was freed from prison, but her passport was again withheld. In the meantime, she has been staying as a guest at the home of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta.

Her mother, Bernadette Kero, said that her daughter has been seeking medical treatment for gastrointestinal problems and infections from insect bites, but is otherwise in good condition.

She said she had received an email message from her daughter's East Timorese lawyer saying he intended to file a petition to have her passport returned. But because the courts in East Timor are closed until the new year, nothing is expected to happen before January 1, she said.

"I'm happy she is out of prison and comfortable, but... we're looking at more waiting," she said.

"That's frustrating – we don't know if it will be a week, two weeks, a month. We don't know anything about the time frame, but her lawyer is hoping it will be sometime in January."

Ms Kero said her daughter was in East Timor on the final six-month leg of a two-year round-the-world tour, a trip she had saved for two years and sold her house to afford.

The US embassy has been in frequent contact with Dr Addison and with her family in the United States, Ms Kero said. In a statement, the US State Department welcomed Dr Addison's release, and said it would continue to provide assistance.

Dr Addison has said she plans to return home as soon as she regains her passport.

Source: http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2014-12-30/us-womans-return-stalled-after-east-timor-prison-release-due-to-court-holiday/1402857