Tears as verdict is read out.
Both Stine Brendemo Hagen (19) and 23-year-old Madeleine Rodriguez have been found guilty of the charges of cocaine smuggling.
The judge sentenced each to jail terms of 13 years and 4 months when the court reconvened this evening at approximately 21:00 Norwegian time. The two women also have to pay 200 and 400 boliviano, respectively. According to NRK, Hagen started crying when the verdict was read out.
However, the sentences are lower than the Public Prosecutor originally asked for. On Monday, Claudia Mancilla Ballesteros demanded Hagen be sentenced to a 15 year jail term, whilst Rodriguez should be given 25 years.
This brings what is probably only the first chapter of a long-running saga to a close. Amongst other things the trial was adjourned indefinitely in December 2009.
In February this year the third defendant, now 20-year-old Christina Øygarden, jumped bail and fled to Norway on an emergency passport issued by the Norwegian Consulate in La Paz.
Øygarden had changed her name claiming her old passport, confiscated by Bolivian authorities, had been damaged.
Yesterday, the two women were allowed to make any further remarks they had. Though Hagen was too upset to give evidence, Rodriguez cried as she gave her testimony to the judge in Spanish, asking him to consider a more lenient sentence.
Hagen has said for some time that she wants to be transferred from Bolivia to serve her sentence in Norway. But with no formal extradition between the two countries, it’s believed this could take a while.
She is also three months pregnant with a child conceived during her incarceration in San Sebastian jail in Cochabamba, but has refused to name who the father is.
“I don’t think anyone in Norway can put themselves in my situation. I’ve been away from my family for almost two years. You don’t just send off your own child,” she told VG yesterday.
Rodriguez – who says she doesn’t want to be extradited – has a daughter, with her at the time of her arrest at Cochabamba airport in 2008.
In the witness box yesterday, she stated she’d never subject her daughter being in jail, and sent her home to live with relatives in Norway.
“I’ve cooperated with the authorities, and can’t understand why you want me to serve 25 years in jail,” she said, using about ten minutes on her final appeal.
Stine Brendemo Hagen (19), Madeleine Rodriguez (23), and Christina Øygarden (19) were arrested at Cochabamba airport in May 2008, after attempting to take out approximately 22 kilos of cocaine with a street value estimated to be in the region of 20 million kroner.
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