Lesbian Couple, Former Detroiters, Imprisoned in Kuwait

By Jason A. Michael

Monique Coverson, a former Detroiter, spent seven years in the Army, most of it stationed in Kuwait. After active duty, Coverson and her partner Larissa Joseph returned to Kuwait to work as military contractors. On May 8 of last year, shortly before the pair was scheduled to return to the states for a Mother's Day visit, the home the couple shared was raided by Kuwaiti authorities. At that time, authorities allegedly found an ounce of a tobacco-like substance. Upon testing, it was allegedly found to be K2, a form of synthetic marijuana which is legal in Kuwait. But as the two sat in a Kuwaiti jail, the charges began to escalate. By the time they were tried in January, the couple was charged with being in possession of a pound of hash. Found guilty, they were sentenced on Jan. 12 to 20-25 years in prison.

Coverson's mother, Michelle Jackson, believes the hash was planted on her daughter and the charge was false. She has created a change.org petition asking President Obama and the U.S. government to intervene and assist her daughter. So far, the petition has received over nearly 148,000 online signatures

"I am begging the US Government to do what it can to get my daughter and her partner out of jail and back to the States," Jackson said in the petition. "They have clearly been targeted by the Kuwaiti government for their lifestyle and could spend half their lives in prison for it.

"This whole ordeal is a nightmare," Jackson continued. "One minute, I was expecting her for Mother's Day, and the next, I was told she was in prison. Everything I have learned has been through her friends and her lawyer, who has only called to demand more money -- money for services he hasn't rendered. Right now, I would do anything just to hear her voice."

Coverson's sister, Shelby Township resident Ashley Frank, said she is worried about her sister.

"I'm fearful about what this is doing to her mental state," Frank told WDIV Channel 4. Frank said the U.S. government has a responsibility to help her sister.

"This is a chance for America to give back to a veteran who has given to them," she said.

To sign the change.org petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/free-monique-and-larissa-campaign-us-citizens-wrongfully-imprisoned-in-kuwait. To assist in financially supporting Coverson's family with her legal fees, visit a gofundme page the family has set up at https://www.gofundme.com/mjk93pgk. Finally, the family has set up a Facebook page in support of the couple. That can be found at http://www.facebook.com/freemoniqueandlarissa.

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