MP confirms Yukon woman imprisoned in Turkey

Charman Smith's friends say she's been in jail in Istanbul since last year, and they want her returned to Canada. Yukon's MP says Canadian officials are doing what they can to help her.

MP confirms Charman Smith is in prison; friends say she had been tricked into smuggling drugs

Charman Smith, a member of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation, was imprisoned in Turkey last year, her friends say. They believe she was tricked into smuggling drugs out of the country. (Facebook/Charman Smith)

Friends of Charman Smith, a Yukon woman jailed in Turkey since last year, say they're concerned about her well-being and they're pushing for the Canadian government to help bring her home.  

Details about Smith's arrest in Turkey are unclear. Her friends, who have set up a Facebook page explaining her plight, say she had been deceived "into unknowingly transporting drugs from Turkey." 

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell confirms that Smith was jailed in Turkey, but says he doesn't know many details about her case. He says he is doing what he can, though, to make sure she's OK. 

"The Canadian officials — as they do in every country — help out Canadian citizens, keep in contact with her, to make sure her health is maintained. I haven't had any negative reports from them," Bagnell said.

Health concerns, friends say

Michael Bramadat-Willcock, a former co-worker of Smith's in Whitehorse, says he's heard differently. He says Smith has epilepsy, and he's worried she might not have the medications she needs.

He describes Smith as "very fun, kind of eccentric — she's a great personality."

He says she's in a women's prison in Istanbul, but he wants her to serve the rest of her sentence in Canada.

"The concern from me is especially to do with her health," said Bramadat-Willcock. "What I've been told by other people, people that she's been in contact with, [is] that she's not really doing well."

The Facebook page set up by Smith's friends says she "suffers from chronic diseases that have the potential to become fatal in the circumstance she is in."

It also states she's received "little or no help from anyone in Canada."

With files from Dave Croft