After months languishing in a jail in Oman, allegedly for a murder her brother committed, Kraaifontein’s Chloe Collins returned home on Monday.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Collins family said Chloe would be in quarantine for the next 14 days and be reunited with her family thereafter. They thanked members of the public who had supported the family since her arrest.
Ms Collins went to Oman in April and was working in the Middle Eastern country’s hospitality industry until her detention on Thursday May 9.
According to Simone Carolissen, the family’s lawyer, Ms Collins’s brother, who joined her in Oman two weeks after her arrival, was suspected of involvement in a murder case, but he has since returned to South Africa. Oman officials then detained Chloe in exchange for her freedom.
Asked at the time what the brother was alleged to have done, Ms Carolissen said: “We don’t know. We hear rumours, but Chloe is being wrongfully detained, and we need to get her home.”
The family said they were releasing a statement to avoid misinformation about Chloe’s situation and to keep those who had supported the family informed.
“It is with the deepest, deepest gratitude that we would like to confirm that Chloe Collins has been released and arrived safely in South Africa on Monday June 8,” the family said.
The family was represented by Carolissen Attorneys, who assisted the family for free.
“While we are still studying the court’s judgment on her matter, we have been informed that Chloe was ultimately found guilty of having knowledge of her brother – allegedly a person of interest in another matter – returning to South Africa before the Omani authorities could question him.
“She was sentenced to one-year detention, with the time already served taken into account. Based on the available information on the case, international legal opinions received have advised to appeal the judgment,” said the family.
They said public support strengthened her case.
“The overwhelming love, care and dedication displayed by everyone who took an interest in Chloe’s plight likely saved her life and contributed to getting her home safely,” the family said.
“From sharing news about the case to keep Chloe from being forgotten to signing petitions, to organising and attending community fundraisers, to donating to her legal defence, as well as keeping Chloe lifted in prayer: We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and pray for God’s richest blessings for you as well as your loved ones. We also wish to thank the South African government for their help.
“It has been a tragic year for all involved. Chloe and her family will be undergoing trauma counselling over the next few weeks and would humbly ask for privacy during this time as they process what has happened and facilitate Chloe’s reintegration.”