Pubdate: Fri, 31 Dec 2004
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Copyright: The Scotsman Publications Ltd 2004
Author: Tim Walsh, PA


The father of a British woman jailed in Greece on suspicion of drug
offences today spoke of his daughter's four-month nightmare behind

Rachael Swinden will spend her 24th birthday on New Year's Day in a
women's jail in Athens.

She was arrested in September on the island of Kos, where she lives,
when found carrying three packets of herbal cannabis, a set of scales
and UKP 500 in cash.

The former shoe shop manager, from Sandy, Bedfordshire, claims she was
only carrying the drugs for Greek boyfriend "Sam", 27.

Both deny drug dealing but admit possessing marijuana for personal

Today, Swinden's father, Geoff, 53, said his daughter faced counts of
possessing and buying the drug after the more serious charge of
supplying cannabis was dropped.

But he now hopes to win an appeal against his daughter's refused bail
application and free her from her prison ordeal.

His daughter was subjected to a violent interrogation after her
arrest, he claimed, receiving "slaps around the head". She was so
upset after that, she failed to eat for a week.

Swinden spent 10 days in police cells in Kos where the conditions were
so bad she left with her face covered in more than 60 mosquito bites,
her father claimed

On appearing in court, she collapsed and was rushed to hospital to be
treated for breathing problems.

Since then she has shared a cell at the "notorious" Korydallos jail in
Athens with a murderer and heroin dealer.

"Obviously, this has not been a very good Christmas for us," Mr
Swinden said. "It's a notorious jail. In fact they are under
restrictions at the moment because someone smuggled in heroin and
there has been one death and four people in comas.

"We are having to deal with this but it is heart-breaking. For her to
spend this amount of time in one of the most notorious jails in the
world for this amount of drugs, I cannot comprehend it.

"The Greek system is also very slow and we are just not getting

"We are optimistic we can get her bail, but then we have been told she
will have to remain in Greece, which is something we don't want."

Mr Swinden said his daughter had spent most of the past five years in
Greece after falling in love with the country during a holiday.

He admits he was surprised to discover his daughter occasionally
smoked cannabis.
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