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Md. Woman Returns Home After Being Held In African Prison For Months

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Maryland woman thrown in prison in the West African nation of Gambia, is back home after nearly a year in custody.

Alex DeMetrick reports, it was a nightmare that started by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Fanta Jawara walked out of customs at Dulles Airport last night, and stepped back into her old life after nearly a year away.

“I’m so glad to be home and reunite with my family,” she told reporters there.

“A naturalized U.S. citizen, Jawara’s ordeal began after she left her home in Frederick, Maryland last April to visit extended family in Gambia.

Two days before she was to fly home, she was arrested.

There was a protest against Gambia’s leader, and Jawara says she was only walking by the demonstration when she was seized.

She returned to her husband and two teenage children, after Gambia’s leader was voted out of office, setting her free.

“I was convicted for two years, so it was tough for me,” she says.

“She was put in jail,” her husband, Ebrima Jawara says. “Not only a jail, it was almost a dungeon.”

Aid organizations fought to have that two year sentence overthrown.

“No American should ever feel abandoned when taken hostage or political prisoner,” she says.

She certainly was not forgotten by her family.

“I’m very happy,” her daughter said Thursday night. “Very happy.”

Back home in Frederick, Fanta Jawara plans to spend the next few days resting and spending time with family.

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