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Indian Passenger Caught at Moscow Airport Carrying Hashish Faces Seven Years in Russian Prison

Representative image.

Representative image.

While the drugs found in his checked rucksack did not belong to him, the passenger initially made a confession "considered to be proof" by investigators, said his lawyer.

Moscow: An Indian man faces up to seven years in prison after hashish was found in his bag at a Moscow airport, his lawyer said on Tuesday, in the latest in a series of similar arrests.

The case of Aashish Bhadourya, 21, echoes that of an Israeli-American woman, Naama Issachar, who was jailed this month for seven-and-a-half years over a larger amount of marijuana found in her luggage at the same airport as she changed flights en route from Delhi in April.

Police found the drugs in Bhadourya's checked luggage while he was in the transit zone at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport en route from Delhi to Prague. He was detained in July and is facing drug smuggling charges, said his lawyer Nikita Taranishchenko. A Moscow court on Tuesday threw out an appeal of his pre-trial detention.

A court in Saint Petersburg in September convicted a 19-year-old US woman, named Audrey Elise Lorber, of drug possession after she was stopped at a city airport with marijuana and a permit for medical use. She was eventually released.

Bhadourya was working for the Czech Embassy in Delhi after studying the language and was travelling for a course, according to Russia's Mediazona website, which covers court cases.

The drugs found in his checked rucksack "do not belong to him", but he initially made a confession "considered to be proof" by investigators, Taranishchenko said.

His lawyer said "there was no crime committed" as Bhadourya was in the transit zone, which "is not in Russian territory".
first published:October 29, 2019, 21:43 IST