Two British women have been jailed for life in the United Arab Emirates for using and selling drugs, said reports.
Anne Kidd, 32, from Leeds and Anna Hamilton, 22, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, face 25 years without parole - but their lawyer said they were "lucky" to escape the death penalty.
Under a 1995 law, drug-trafficking offences in the Emirates carry a possible death penalty. In practice, however, prisoners tend to receive life sentences and are often granted parole after 25 years, according to CNN.com
The two women, dressed in face veils and head-to-toe black gowns, were each ordered to pay £10,000 in fines in the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
Daniel Malouf, 28, from London, was also jailed for 10 years for intent to deal in drugs.
They were among seven people arrested last November on charges of possessing and using narcotics and smuggling hashish and cocaine. Stacey Simpson, 25, from Leeds; Katherine Jenkins, 29, an Emirates Airlines air hostess from Cimla, Neath, South Wales; and an Australian, Heidi Deboer, 24, from Queensland, have yet to be sentenced. Lebanese citizen Abdul Hamid Dandashi, 25, was given four years for drug use.
Only Hamilton - also known as Anna Bartlett - and Malouf have confessed to any of the charges. Hamilton said she had brought in cocaine and hashish while Malouf admitted to using hashish.
All the suspects, including those already sentenced, have been referred to a Dubai court, where they will stand trial again on the same charges. Kidd, Hamilton and Malouf can appeal their sentences, said Sky.com in its report.
A spokesman for the British Foreign Office was quoted as saying that "all five of the Britons have the right of appeal. Whether they will exercise that right is a matter for them and their lawyers. We cannot interfere in the judicial process."
A spokesman for Fair Trials Abroad said it was a "remarkably fair trial" by Emirates standards. The trial was conducted by an Islamic law (Sharia) court in the emirate.
Last December, the UAE pardoned two other Britons for drug smuggling. Ian Bamling, a social worker, and Lyn Majakas, a head teacher at a school for special needs pupils were released early after serving a year of their four-and-a-half-year terms, said the station.
The pair had been arrested after being caught at Abu Dhabi international airport in October 1998 with a small amount of cannabis and bottles of alcohol.
The release was seen as a conciliatory gesture in line with the observance of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to CNN – Albawaba.com