‘Innocent’ parents face 30 years in jail for drug-smuggling after name tags put on cocaine-filled suitcases at airport

A COUPLE have been jailed in Turkey after airport “staff” put their luggage tags on suitcases containing 43kg of cocaine.

Parents Ahmed Hasan and Malak Treki now face up to 30 years in jail and may never see their two young sons grow up.

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Dad Ahmed Hasan was living in Brazil before wanting to move back to his native LibyaCredit: Supplied
Malak Treki pictured with one of her children

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Malak Treki pictured with one of her childrenCredit: Supplied
Picture taken on October 22, 2023, when Ahmed and his wife checked six bags and two strollers at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Picture taken on October 22, 2023, when Ahmed and his wife checked six bags and two strollers at Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo, BrazilCredit: Supplied
Ahmed Hasan previously spoke with Brazilian outlets prior to his inprisonment

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Ahmed Hasan previously spoke with Brazilian outlets prior to his inprisonmentCredit: TVGlobo

On October 22, 2022, the couple and their kids took a direct flight to Turkey from São Paulo International Airport, where they checked in two strollers and six suitcases.

But tags taken from one of the strollers were used four days later on bags containing 43kg cocaine, Brazil cops said.

An investigation by Brazilian police revealed that Ahmed and Malak were the victims of an international gang swapping luggage at the airport.

But Turkish authorities have insisted the couple need to stay in prison until a final trial in May.

Dr Luna Provazio, the couple’s solicitor in Brazil, told The Sun how their children – aged two and four – cry every day asking for their parents.

She said: “The situation is absolutely tragic. Ahmed and Malak are in terrible health and emotionally unwell.

“The two boys are being looked after by their grandparents in Libya but they cry every day asking where their parents are.

“They have no idea of what is happening.”

Businessman Ahmed, who holds Brazilian citizenship, had decided to move back to his native Libya after living in Brazil for almost two years.

When the family landed in Turkey on October 23, 2022, they picked up their luggage as expected and made it to Libya.

We had luggage tags on our bags swapped at airport by drug traffickers and ended up spending a MONTH in prison
The tags allegedly taken from Ahmed and Malak's luggage

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The tags allegedly taken from Ahmed and Malak’s luggageCredit: TVGlobo
The 43kg of cocaine seized in Turkey

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The 43kg of cocaine seized in TurkeyCredit: TVGlobo
CCTV shows the alleged scammers swapping tags on suitcases from another couple

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CCTV shows the alleged scammers swapping tags on suitcases from another coupleCredit: Supplied

But almost seven months later, on May 19 last year, Ahmed travelled to Turkey on a business trip – and was arrested upon landing.

It wasn’t until the next day – when he received a visit from a Turkish solicitor at a cell in the airport – that he found out why he had been detained.

The 37-year-old previously told Globo: “She [the solicitor] said I was being accused of international drug trafficking.

“I got scared, I almost died, it was a huge shock to me.”

Ahmed was detained for one day and not allowed to leave Turkish territory until his first hearing on November 30 last year in Istanbul.

But the international drug trafficking charge also included his wife – who was in Libya with their two children at the time.

She flew to Turkey after she was asked to also attend the hearing and both Ahmed and Malak have been held in prison ever since.

The two boys are being looked after by their grandparents in Libya but they cry every day asking where their parents are

Dr Luna Provaziosolicitor

If convicted in May, the couple face up to 30 years in jail.

By then, their toddlers will be in their 20s.

Dr Provazio told The Sun how Turkish authorities made a mistake by not immediately informing Brazilian cops of the cocaine-filled bags.

She said: “The Turkish police seized the bags and decided to investigate what happened.

“However, they did not inform the Brazilian police. And that was the biggest mistake.

“On the date the drugs arrived, Ahmed and Malak were no longer in Istanbul.

“They were living their lives normally without even knowing they were being investigated.”

It meant an important piece of evidence was lost, she explained.

“If the Turkish police had notified the Brazilian authorities as soon as they discovered the suitcases, we would probably have CCTV images showing the tags being swapped,” Dr Provazio said.

“That would have been immense proof of Ahmed and Malak’s innocence.

“Unfortunately, Brazil’s Federal Police no longer has the images from October 2022, as their back-up only lasts from 30 to 60 days.

“What’s worse, Brazil spent seven months without knowing what happened to one of its citizens.”

Dr Provazio said although there are no images, cops in Brazil were able to conclude the couple were innocent based on other evidence.

“For example, the tag used by the gang to send cocaine was the tag the gang took from part of their baby stroller,” she said.

“The part of the stroller weighed 5kg and the gang placed that same label on a suitcase weighing 43kg. The numbers don’t add up.

“The police also found traces that the label had been handled and was very poorly glued, not to mention that the suitcase didn’t even go on the same flight, but four days later.”

They were living their lives normally without even knowing they were being investigated.

Dr Luna Provaziosolicitor

Ahmed and Malak’s trial now scheduled to take place in May – and Dr Provazio hopes their nightmare will be finally over by then.

“We have great evidence of innocence. There’s no reason for Turkish authorities to be so rigid like that,” she said.

“They were not produced by lawyers, but by the Federal Police.

” So we are calm and confident about the quality of evidence.

“We hope to give more clarity to Turkey, which perhaps they are not so aware of, that this crime has actually happened before – as bizarre as it may seem.”

It comes as two Brazilian women also fell victim to the same cocaine suitcase scam.

Dr Provazio was also the solicitor for Jeanne Paolini and Katyna Baia, who embarked for a holiday in Germany but ended up imprisoned for 38 days last year.

The couple were arrested in Frankfurt on suspicion of international drug trafficking after cops found cocaine in suitcases labelled with their names.

Jeanne and Katyna were only released after images from Sao Paulo airport revealed the criminal action of “employees” who took care of transporting the luggage to the plane.

Personal trainer Katyna previously told The Sun: “We were guilty until proven innocent, and treated like convicted criminals from the start.”

CCTV shows the alleged scammers swapping tags on other suitcases in a previous case

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CCTV shows the alleged scammers swapping tags on other suitcases in a previous caseCredit: Supplied
The international drug gang operated from the São Paulo International Airport

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The international drug gang operated from the São Paulo International AirportCredit: Newsflash

Credit Gist New Today News in Newspaper Nigeria Headlines

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