UK & World News
Peru: Drugs Case Lawyer To Meet Police
A lawyer for one of two women accused of smuggling £1.5m of cocaine is expected to discuss her case with police later.
Human rights lawyer Peter Madden will go to a police holding centre in Peruvian capital Lima, where Michaella McCollum and co-accused Melissa Reid are being detained.
In a statement released through his Belfast-based firm, Mr Madden said he would not be commenting on the case until after the meeting.
Ms McCollum from Dungannon, County†Tyrone, and Ms Reid, from Glasgow, are being held on drug trafficking allegations.
The pair, both 20, were arrested last week while trying to board a flight from Lima to Madrid. Police said they found around 11kg of cocaine hidden inside food packages in their luggage.
Both women deny the allegations and claim they were forced to carry the bags by armed men.
It has been reported that Peruvian police are expected to hand their investigation to the state prosecutor's office so that formal charges can be made against the two women.
The findings will form the basis of a pre-trial hearing that will determine what the pair are to be charged with.
Both women had travelled separately to the party island of Ibiza in search of work this summer.
On Sunday it was reported that a third girl may have been due to take part in the alleged smuggling plot but that she changed her mind at the last minute and left Ibiza for the UK.
The girl said in an anonymous interview with the Sunday People she is in hiding and fears for her life
Meanwhile, a senior Spanish police officer said he did not believe Ms McCollum and Ms Reid had been acting under duress.
First sergeant Alberto Arian Barilla, the head of the Ibiza police unit responsible for countering organised crime, said if the girls were being forced they would have alerted the airport's passport control.
Further questions about the women's version of events were raised after photographs emerged which allegedly showed them posing on a balcony and on a beach with glasses of beer days before their arrests.
The pair say they were told to take photos of themselves at tourist spots to make it look like they were friends travelling together, the Daily Mail said.
Ms Reid's father, William Reid, who flew to Peru to be with his daughter, agreed the photos were ambiguous, but told the newspaper: "I want to know who took that picture of them on their balcony. Was it taken by a third person or by a minder, and who was drinking the beer?
"That wasn't Melissa's beer in the photo because I have never in my entire life seen her drink beer. She drinks a lot of water and, if she is drinking, it would be vodka."
He added: "I believe the trip to the beach was part of a set-up that they asked them to smile to build up a portrayal of them as happy holidaymakers.
"Melissa said they said they had been told by the men that they weren't smiling enough in the pictures and they told them to look happier."