Lawyer detained in Mongolia home at last
Back on home soil ... Sarah Armstrong. Photo: Paul Scambler
IT WAS the Christmas night reunion her mother barely dared dream of.
The Australian lawyer Sarah Armstrong touched down in Tasmania for a reunion with her family, after being detained for two months in Mongolia.
''I've been like a child waiting [for] a present,'' Ms Armstrong's mother, Yvonne, said. ''It's a beautiful relief.''
Ms Armstrong met her family at Launceston Airport about 8 o'clock after finally being allowed to leave Mongolia.
Mrs Armstrong said uncertainty about her daughter's release meant the family had no Christmas dinner waiting.
''It's just been a bit of a madhouse,'' she said. ''But the fridge is full, rest assured of that.''
On Christmas Day she was wrapping presents she had bought while her daughter was still in detention in anticipation of the homecoming. ''I have a little stash [of gifts]''.
Mrs Armstrong, a manager at a hospital in western Tasmania, was planning to be reunited while working an evening shift.
Ms Armstrong was barred from boarding a flight from Ulan Bator to Hong Kong in mid-October because authorities wanted to question her over corruption allegations.
Officials claimed she might have witnessed alleged corruption and money-laundering in the country, although details of the case have remained sketchy.
They said Ms Armstrong was wanted over an investigation into the former chief of Mongolia's mining authority, who is reportedly suspected of illegally handling mining licences.
On Monday her employer, SouthGobi Resources, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, said Mongolia's Independent Authority against Corruption had ended its questioning of Ms Armstrong.
SouthGobi said the authority was continuing its inquiry into the sale of certain SouthGobi licences and the involvement of government officials linked to the case.
Australia is the biggest investor in Mongolia's mining sector.
with AAP and AFP