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Spanish tourist jailed in Russia for keeping makeup bag she found
A HOLIDAYMAKER from Sevilla is in prison in St Petersburg accused of stealing a makeup bag at the airport.
María del Carmen R.S., 54, was with one of her daughters, Lola, at the time as they waited for a flight to Moscow.
Lola said she and her mum found the makeup bag on the floor five days into their holiday in Russia and asked as many people as they could around them whether it was theirs.
As everyone said no, María del Carmen stuffed it in her own bag.
It contained cosmetics with a retail value of around 7,000 roubles, or about €100.
María del Carmen apparently took the spectacles out of the bag and left it, along with the empty bag itself, on top of a vending machine, but pocketed the makeup.
Police officers nearby approached her and asked if the items were hers, and she explained she had found it dumped on the floor.
They were both taken to the police station, missing their flight and, as the police only spoke Russian and were unable to understand either Spanish or English – which Lola and her mother both speak – they ended up having to wait from 10.00 until 20.00 for an interpreter.
Then, their statements were not taken until 03.00 the next morning.
María del Carmen was held in custody, and Lola was released.
She found herself a hotel in St Petersburg and immediately got in touch with the Spanish Consulate.
After two days, María del Carmen was taken to a prison, since her having kept the items in the makeup bag is considered a crime as the value of the goods found was over 5,000 roubles, or €80, and means she could face up to five years in a Russian jail.
Lola has had to return to Spain via Moscow and appointed a Russian solicitor, who charges 50,000 roubles, or €800 a month.
Lola says the family is 'seriously struggling to pay the lawyer's bill', since although she is one of María del Carmen's four children – three daughters and a son, all adults - two of them are out of work and live with their mother.
And if their mother has to stay in Russia for too long – she is likely to have to remain in jail for at least two months - she could end up losing her job at home in Spain.
Lola is pushing for her mother to be released and placed under house arrest in a rented apartment in St Petersburg, since if she had been resident in Russia, she would have been released until the trial went ahead.
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