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IMPRISONED ACTOR FREED BY PAKISTAN.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

LANCASTER - Sherry Aude's 34-month nightmare is finally coming to an end.

Her 24-year-old actor son, Erik, is returning home, possibly as early as Wednesday, after being imprisoned since February 2002 in a Pakistani prison on a drug charge.

``When I first heard about it, I was totally happy and elated. We are all standing around with bated breath just waiting to hear he's on the plane,'' Sherry Aude said. ``I just hope I don't pass out when I see him. It's like I've been in a nightmare ever since I got the call three years ago.''

Erik Aude, a former football star at Lancaster's Bethel Christian High School who appeared in ``Dude, Where's My Car?'' among other small roles, was sentenced in January 2003 to seven years in an Islamabad prison, where he had been held since his arrest in February 2002 at the airport in Islamabad.

State Department officials said Monday that a Pakistani judge last week ordered a sentence of time already served and upheld a previously imposed fine of 50,000 rupees - about $860.

Erik Aude had been hired to pick up leather samples from a manufacturer in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital city, his mother said. But after Aude picked up a suitcase containing the samples and got to the Islamabad airport, Pakistani customs officials found eight pounds of opium hidden in the sample suitcase's lining.

Sherry Aude said her son had no knowledge the drugs were there.

She worked tirelessly to free her son, appealing to officials in Congress and holding rallies on her son's behalf and at the Pakistani consulate in Los Angeles.

``Not a day hasn't gone by when I haven't called somebody or written letters,'' Sherry Aude said.

She said she got a call from the American embassy in Islamabad early Monday informing her that her son could be home in time for Christmas.

``I've already sent money there for the plane fare,'' Sherry Aude said.

Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744

karen.maeshiro(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 21, 2004
Words:336
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