Many of us have agreed to share a cab with a stranger while traveling, but we haven’t wound up in jail as a result.
That wrong-place-wrong-time nightmare scenario, however, is apparently what’s happened to Stacey Addison, an American veterinarian from Oregon, who has been traveling solo around the world since January 2013.
According to the Oregonian newspaper and Addison’s Facebook page, on September 5, Addison traveled from Indonesia into Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor) and shared a cab from the border crossing at Batugade to the capital city of Dili.
“Along the way, another passenger asked to pick up a package at a DHL office,” reports the Oregonian. “Police, acting on a tip from Indonesian authorities, were watching and found methamphetamine in the parcel. Addison and everyone else in the cab were arrested.”
“I was held in the Dili Detention Center for four nights then released after an initial hearing,” Addison later posted on Facebook. “The judge ordered that my passport be held until further investigations have been completed.”
“(Addison) was conditionally released September 9 but wasn’t allowed to leave the country,” according to the Oregonian. “Prosecutors told her she was needed as a witness for an investigation that could take a year.”
Solitary confinement, hair chopped
After an October 29 court appearance, Addison was jailed again without explanation or warning, and spent five days in solitary confinement.
It’s unclear when Addison will be released.
The Oregonian reports local U.S. consular officials have visited twice with Addison in prison and that U.S. State Department officials will meet with the Timorese ambassador on Friday.
Addison’s mother, Bernadette Kero, has established a Facebook page PleaseHelpStacey.
On November 1, Kero posted the following update:
“Yesterday I spoke with Josh at the U.S. Embassy in Dili after his visit with Stacey at Gleno prison.
“He said that conditions are basic but decent. … She is in ‘Induction’ period so alone for 5 days and her hair has been cut short per prison protocol.
She will be moved to the Female Unit Monday.
“He told me she was being strong. … She (said) how difficult it was to be all alone in a small cell with nothing to do but worry all day.”
“I am trying to keep busy and keep the anxiety at bay but the uncertainty is always there,” Addison posted on Facebook on October 19, between her first and second incarcerations. This isn’t how I had imagined I would be spending my time during the trip of a lifetime. I hope it is all over soon.”
By Chuck Thompson for CNN