Detroit native facing up to 25 years in foreign prison

A Shelby Township woman is deeply concerned about her sister after the Detroit native was convicted in Kuwait, on what her family believes is a trumped up charge. 

Monique Coverson is an American citizen and Army veteran who is now facing up to 25 years in a foreign prison for possession of a material her lawyer claims is perfectly legal in Kuwait.

Coverson and her partner Larissa were planning to come home and surprise her mother last Mother's day, but when she never even called, her family got the worst kind of surprise.

" I'm fearful about what this is doing to her mental state," said Coverson's sister, Ashley Frank.

Police broke down Coverson's door at 3 A.M. last May and arrested her and her partner for having an ounce of a suspicious substance. A German lab determined it was synthetic marijuana, known as K2, and is legal in Kuwait.

"The lawyer is saying, 'Give me 30 days.' That became 60 days, and now it's a year she's in prison," said Coverson's mother, Michelle Jackson.

By the time Coverson and Larissa went to trial, that one ounce of K2 had become a pound of hash.

"She told me, 'Mom, they planted this on us. We didn't have anything like that," Jackson said.

Frank believes her sister and her same sex partner were targeted.

"They live an alternative lifestyle. That's accepted here, but not in foreign countries," Frank said.

One week ago the sentence came down, 20 to 25 years in prison.

"I literally fell to my knees and said, 'Dear Lord, this is not happening to me,'" Jackson said.

They've set up a Facebook page and gathered more than 4,000 signatures on a petition demanding her release.

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

For the moment, Coverson and her partner are in a local jail. Conditions are livable, but their families are very concerned about their safety once they are transferred to a national prison.

It's ironic, while they are battle for her freedom, 25 years ago her father was fighting to liberate Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm.

The American Embassy said they were not aware of Coverson's situation. They are working with the State Department to investigate.