Ayyan Ali: Pakistani supermodel jailed for money laundering
Pakistani supermodel Ayyan Ali has been jailed in Adiala prison in Rawalpindi.
On March 14, Ayyan Ali, 23, was detained at Islamabad airport on charges of money laundering.
The $500,000 in the supermodel’s suitcase exceeded the legal limit of cash that can be carried out of the country, which is $10,000.
Ayyan Ali denies the charge and says the money was acquired legitimately from the proceeds of property sales and that she was unaware of these customs rules.
Prosecutors have said that if convicted of smuggling the money out of Pakistan, Ayyan Ali could be forced to pay a heavy fine and face a 14-year jail term.
Two weeks of legal wrangling went by and finally at the end of March her application for bail was dismissed – so she faces yet more time in Adiala.
Known simply as Ayyan, she began her career on the catwalk at 16 and quickly rose to become Pakistan’s most successful and high-profile model. There was even speculation she would represent Pakistan in the Miss Universe pageant.
Ayyan Ali also has a singing career and videos of this part of her career can be found on Youtube.
Pakistani media have speculated about the conditions under which Ayyan Ali is being held, whether or not she is being given special treatment, and whether the jail has fallen victim to Pakistan’s notorious “VIP culture”.
One newspaper report suggested Ayyan Ali was given a well-furnished room with a TV set, refrigerator, wore a new dress daily and was allowed a special kind of mobile phone that could bypass the prison’s jammers.
According to the prison’s rules, there is no dress code for accused prisoners in the jail so Ayyan Ali can wear any dress of her choice. It is only convicts who wear jail uniform.
Jail authorities also said Ayyan Ali had requested B-class jail facilities on the basis of her degree and that the home secretary had the authority to shift prisoners to Category B conditions.
According to Pakistan’s criminal code, if you have completed 14 years of education you are entitled to Category B conditions where you get a servant and better cell facilities, but this is only permitted in criminal cases so would probably not be permissible for her.
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