Locked up: 136 Kiwis in offshore prisons

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade knows of 136 New Zealand citizens detained in overseas prisons, as of March 2017.
FAIRFAX NZ

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade knows of 136 New Zealand citizens detained in overseas prisons, as of March 2017.

A former Kiwi pub and nightclub owner convicted of having sex with two underage Colombian girls is among more than 130 New Zealanders doing time in overseas prisons.

Paul Anthony Brailsford was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after his arrest in 2011.

It came during a series of raids to rescue children being sexually abused and exploited in the Colombian city of Cartagena.

New Zealander Paul Anthony Brailsford, right, is serving a 20-year sentence for sex crimes in Colombia.
SUPPLIED

New Zealander Paul Anthony Brailsford, right, is serving a 20-year sentence for sex crimes in Colombia.

Brailsford has publicly denied knowing the girls – aged 12 and 14 – were underage. 

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Documents show the Government is providing consular assistance to 136 New Zealanders, including Brailsford, detained across 32 countries including Colombia, Iraq, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Qatar, Peru, Taiwan, Poland and Turkey. There are 50 detainees in Australia alone.

Labour's Corrections spokesman, Kelvin Davis, says he has no problem with people committing crimes in Australia being ...
DAVID WHITE/FAIRFAX NZ

Labour's Corrections spokesman, Kelvin Davis, says he has no problem with people committing crimes in Australia being locked up over there, but he does "have a problem with them being thrown in detention centres."

The annual cost of providing consular services overseas for all New Zealanders, not only those detained, is $18.28 million.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade revealed that one New Zealander had been held by Iraqi authorities as late as March 6 for 'immigration detention', but had since been released.

MFAT confirmed the individual was held by Iraqi authorities as late as March 6. 

Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully said the detention of New Zealanders in Australia was "a matter of ongoing ...
REUTERS

Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully said the detention of New Zealanders in Australia was "a matter of ongoing discussion between our two governments and has been raised at the highest levels".

According to an investigation by the UK's Channel 4 News, Brailsford, a dual British-New Zealand national, was found in his hotel room with child pornography before his arrest in 2011.

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When interviewed in prison he told the channel he was still fighting to get out.

"Unfortunately here there are many underage hookers – okay, I got caught in a sting; I thought they were older," he said.

"Both were tall . . . very well-endowed. I thought old enough, no problem."

However, one of his victims told Channel 4 she was not a prostitute and Brailsford had groomed her after seeing her at the beach.

The rap sheets of other Kiwis on the Government's list include robbery, fraud, sex crimes, manslaughter and drugs charges.

One New Zealander is serving a sentence of more than 20 years for murder in the United States.

The cases were just those the government agency or New Zealand embassies were aware of.

Alberto Costi, an Associate Professor at Victoria University's School of Law, said conditions in offshore prisons were often harsh.

"Our citizens really need to be careful if they ever get convicted overseas – some may have a very rough time in jail."

Almost half of the detained New Zealanders receiving MFAT assistance were locked up in Australian jails, with many facing 'unknown' sentences.

Labour's Corrections spokesman, Kelvin Davis, said he was uncomfortable with that.

"There are New Zealanders locked up in both prisons and detention centres who have not committed any crime, but who the Australians simply don't like or trust.

"If they haven't been convicted or sentenced there, then there is no date set for their misery to end.

"I have no problem with people who have committed a crime in Australia being locked up, I do have a problem with them being thrown in detention centres."

Amnesty International campaigns director Meg de Ronde​ also had concerns.

"It's not just people fleeing war zones and horrific persecution in their home countries who are being detained for long periods – New Zealanders are being detained on Christmas Island and in onshore Australia jails for extended periods due to immigration issues.

"There have been concerning reports from Christmas Island of a lack of access to adequate medical care, violence from guards and other detainees, and difficulties accessing legal representation."

Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully​ said the detention of New Zealanders in Australia was "a matter of ongoing discussion between our two governments and has been raised at the highest levels".

The management of Australian detention centres was "a matter for the Australian Government", he said.

WHAT CONSULAR OFFICIALS CAN DO IF A NEW ZEALANDER IS ARRESTED OVERSEAS:
- Provide a list of local English-speaking lawyers
- Inform next-of-kin of a New Zealander's arrest
- Arrange for funds to be transferred from friends/family for bail payments and legal expenses
- Attend a final court hearing as an observer, depending on the court's location.

WHAT CONSULAR OFFICIALS CAN'T DO:
- Intervene in the judicial process of another country
- Have a person released from detention or imprisonment, or transferred to a New Zealand prison
- Select or appoint a lawyer, provide legal advice or investigate an offence
- Pay legal fees, fines or bail
- Resolve immigration issues

 - Sunday Star Times

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