Tuesday, December 30, 2014

UPDATE : U.S Doctor released from prison in East Timor

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It was the end of a nightmare.
A Portland woman, imprisoned in Timor Leste for months, is finally free, just in time for the holidays.
The simple snapshot, captured Christmas day outside the prison walls, is a declaration of freedom, one Bernadette Kero worried she would never see.
"My first reaction was to cry. Yeah, I couldn't believe it, I just was sobbing," she said via phone from her home in Klamath Falls.
It's been two months since Kero's daughter, Portland veterinarian Stacey Addison, was arrested and imprisoned in Timor Leste.
A painful journey has been documented on the Facebook page, "Help Stacey".
Her crime? Getting into a shared cab where another passenger was allegedly transporting meth.
It was an innocent mistake, but in this small, impoverished east Asian country, it was more than enough to place Addison's fate into question.
"When I read the story on Stacey, I thought how easily that could have been me," said Mary Wald.
Wald is president and founder of The Community, a group that works to solve international human rights disputes.
She said, based upon her experience, Addison is very lucky.
"I mean, I know a woman who ended up in jail in Singapore for losing her temper in an airport when they wouldn't let her on the plane," she said. "There are just some things you don't do in Asia."
Wald help bring Addison's story to the attention of Jose Ramos-Horta.
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of Timor Leste, Ramos-Horta was instrumental in negotiating Addison's release.
Now he and other policy makers are rejoicing, including Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, who called Addison's release "great Christmas news".
For Kero, that's putting it lightly.
"This is just, you know, the best Christmas present I could have had, other than her actually getting her passport and getting on the plane. This was second best," she said.
Addison is staying at the home of Ramos-Horta, but her ordeal is not finished. Her passport has not been returned.
You can share a petition to help make that happen and learn more by heading to the Facebook page.

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