Willful neglect by DFAT of Australian imprisoned in Argentina

On 4 February 2003 Australian man Stephen Sutton was arrested in a joint Australian Federal Police/Argentine police operation in Buenos Aires. After being held for two an a half years without charge, he was finally convicted of drug trafficking, and sentenced to 11 years in an Argentine prison. This conviction was despite ANY drugs being found on Stephen or in his hotel at the time of the raid. Moreover, when Stephen was 15 he had a rare type of scalp tumour removed and according to his family 'was never the same ... and seemed to stay in this age bracket'. This fact alone suggests it is more likely that, if indeed there is ANY connection between Stephen Sutton and the drug trade, that Stephen was exploited by unscrupulous others, tricked into being an unwitting drug mule in what has been described as a 'transnational organised crime syndicate'. Now Stephen Sutton is seriously ill in prison with tuberculosis, and being denied basic health care. His concerned family have been consistently fobbed off by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and even threatened with imprisonment themselves under the Privacy Act for discussing their own frustrations with the system. Stephen's older sister Ann Cluse, from Salisbury Downs discusses her experiences dealing with government bureaucracies that appear completely uninterested in offering basic protection to an Australian citizen abroad in dire trouble. Does being in prison mean you have lost all human rights? Are there are other Australians imprisoned overseas enduring similar neglect from Australian Consular agencies? Is this a systemic problem? Read more.... background to Stephen Sutton's situation Interview with Stephen Sutton's sister Letter from Stephen Sutton Photo caption: Stephen Sutton with his niece Dee, in Australia

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