Cleghorn….victim of injustice in
Remember the case of
the Gisborne Salvation Army euphonium player who was jailed in
Robert James Campbell Stewart, in his mid-60s, is one of the more memorable New Zealanders who have found themselves behind bars in foreign countries.
He was sentenced to seven years' jail in 2001.
Stewart has been out for at least a year, but the builder and father of five no longer lives in Gisborne. And he doesn't want to reflect on his traumatic experience, either. He has, says Salvation Army colleague Russell Garbett "had enough of the publicity".
Not surprising, when
you hear about the prison he was in -
It's the sort of place where prisoners are in charge and anything can be had - for a price. Unprotected gay sex is standard and drugs freely available. Diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis are common.
Talotofisamoa Selu Lealiifano is one who will observe summer from an Australian
cell. Most New Zealanders in prison overseas are in
Lealiifano is in
Lealiifano, a 27-year-old
who moved from
He is due to appear in
Former Petone resident Graham Cleghorn, 55, faced the New Year in a Cambodian jail, with allegations of sex offences against young girls hanging over his head.
Cleghorn has been
living for about a decade in Siam Reap, about 230km from the capital,
Under Cambodian law, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, he could be held without charge for up to six months.
Although Aucklander Sun
Gang pleaded guilty at trial in
Allegedly a member of the United States-based pro-democracy China Federation Foundation, 44-year-old Sun, who has an ex-wife and two children in Auckland, planned to fly a helium balloon over Beijing and scatter hundreds of leaflets around Tiananmen Square.
Representing himself, Sun admitted also planning to kidnap a state energy company official for a ransom to fund pro-democracy activities. Both activities carry long prison sentences.
Most New Zealanders getting in trouble overseas are involved in far less serious stuff, but skirmishes with the law keep consular staff busy.
In the financial year
to last June,
That could have included advice on lawyers, help contacting family, court appearances, and visits to police stations or immigration centres, says Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Emma Reilly.
"The message we'd be keen to get across," says ministry spokesman Brad Tattersfield, "would be that people have to be aware of local customs and practices."
Scraps in public, questioning the authorities or trying to evade police are the sorts of behaviours, he says, that could be viewed far more seriously overseas than here.
So what can you do if you wind up behind bars?
If you get in trouble
overseas, don't expect that the
The ministry cannot select a lawyer, give legal advice, give you money, get you out of jail, or get involved in the judicial process.
It won't forward mail or go shopping for you.
The ministry suggests that anyone detained or arrested ask for legal assistance or permission to contact the nearest New Zealand Post.
But it adds a warning: "Stay calm and co-operate ... Do not sign any statement without seeking legal advice."
Overseas posts can give arrested people advice on what to do, can help you with language barriers, provide a list of English-speaking lawyers, inform your family and arrange for them to send you money. Consular staff may be able to attend a final court hearing.
If you are found guilty and can't avoid doing time, consular staff will seek approval for prison visits by family and friends, visit people in jails where conditions are known to be really bad, ensure any medical and dental problems are brought to the attention of prison authorities, and take up "any justified and serious complaint about ill treatment and discrimination".
Otherwise, you're on your own.
NEW ZEALANDERS IN JAIL OVERSEAS