PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 26 (UPI) -- An Amerian woman who spent weeks in prison in East Timor because she shared a taxi with the wrong person was freed unexpectedly on Christmas Day.
Dr. Stacey Addison, 41, a Portland, Ore., veterinarian, was also invited to be a guest of former East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. She was unable to leave the country because authorities are still holding her passport.
Her mother, Bernadette Kero of Oregon, told CNN she received "the best Christmas present I could imagine" when she learned her daughter was out of prison.
"The past four months have been an extremely stressful time for all of us," Kero said in a statement Thursday. "Of course we are now hoping that her passport will be returned and she will be able to return home to Oregon very soon."
Kero said her daughter's lawyer is now focused on getting her passport back.
Addison's legal troubles began Sept. 5 when she shared a taxi with a stranger to Dili, the East Timor capital. All the occupants of the cab were arrested when the man stopped at a delivery office to pick up a package that allegedly contained methamphetamine.
"Help Stacey," a Facebook page set up to gather support for her, said her crime was being "in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Addison was freed four days later but without her passport. She was returned to prison in late October, apparently because there was a warrant for her arrest that gave no reason.
Talking to reporters Thursday with Ramos-Horta, Addison said she had left her job in January 2013 to take an extended round-the-world trip. But she said her immediate plan once she gets her passport is to go home to Oregon.
"I don't think my mom would ever forgive me if I didn't come home immediately and stay for a while," she said.
Addison said she had heard no response to a petition she filed earlier this month. The Christmas release was a surprise because she expected no business to be done on the holiday.
Mary Wald, head of The Community, a group that monitors international human rights, said she helped involve Ramos-Horta in Addison's case. Wald said Asian countries like East Timor can be tricky for travelers.