A Sydney-based tow truck driver has been imprisoned in Fiji since he came for a claimed vacation nine months ago. He was caught by authorities for possessing cocaine which led him to life imprisonment penalty there.
Tow truck driver Joseph Abourizk claimed that he visited Fiji only for leisure purposes and claims he was innocent. The driver hired a charter boat cruise to travel to the west coast of Fiji. His lawyer said that the decision to hire a charter boat cruise was a big mistake that resulted in the driver to remain imprisoned for so long.
The 30-year-old was arrested in July 2015 when Fiji authorities caught him with around 50 kilogrammes of cocaine worth $15 million in two suitcases he carried at Vuda Marina, according to Stuff New Zealand. During his imprisonment, he missed the birth of his first child, Penelope, his lawyer stated. Abourizk, however, claimed that he was not aware of the presence of cocaine in the suitcases.
During a recent trial, Korn MacDougall Legal’s Warwick Korn, the Australian solicitor of the driver, said that Abourizk was being exploited by the charter boat’s captain. During the tour, the captain asked the driver to collect some “equipment” before the boat’s departure. Abourizk stuck to his claims and said that he travelled with the captain and another man, Josese Muriwaqa, to a nearby town where the suitcases were loaded into the back of a car.
On the way to their destination, the captain left the car while Abourizk and Muriwaqa were arrested on the same charges. The Foreign Affairs Department said it was coordinating to assist the offender. “The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance in accordance with the Consular Services Charter to an Australian man who was arrested in Fiji,” the department stated as quoted by Yahoo News. “For privacy reasons, we are unable to provide any further information on this matter.”