A young Aboriginal woman has been sentenced to eight years prison in Bolivia, finally convicted after facing allegations of cocaine importation while serving a lengthy period of detention without charge.
Queensland woman Alana Miles was arrested in March 2013 after being arrested at a Bolivian airport with a backpack containing cocaine.
Miles claimed she had been given the backpack by a friend, and was not aware of its contents.
Despite the similarities between Miles’ circumstances and those of other high profile Australians such as Schapelle Corby, Miles’ story has received little media attention.
Since her arrest, Miles’ family have been running fundraising to provide their daughter with basic necessities they say are not provided free to inmates.
In a Facebook message posed in a support group in May, sister Kylie Miles said Alana was forced to spend $125 a week in order to gain access to basic provisions and insulin, necessary to help manage her diabetes.
“Alana is looking at a sentence which will be a massive impact on our whole family. Her presence is sadly missed everyday,” Kylie Miles wrote at the time.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed Consul officials were in regular contact with the family, and with Miles.
“The Australian Embassy in Lima and the Australian Honorary Consul in La Paz, Bolivia are providing consular assistance to an Australian woman who has been sentenced in Bolivia to eight years’ imprisonment for serious narcotics offences,” DFAT said in a statement provided to New Matilda
During Alana’s time held in custody, Kylie told media outlets she was surprised by the lack of attention given to the case, and protested her sister’s innocence.
“My sister would not even know what cocaine looked like except for in the movies,” Kylie told the Brisbane Times.
She told the outlet her sister had fought Leukaemia as a child.
“After all she went through in her teenage years she just wanted to travel,” she said.
New Matilda is seeking to make contact with the Miles family, and will have a new story as soon as possible.
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