Posts Tagged prison

Legal News: GardaWorld’s Daniel Ménard Thrown In Afghan Jail

This is an interesting one that just popped up on my radar. I found it yesterday and posted it on Facebook, and I received multiple viewpoints on what is going on. Everything from it is all GardaWorld’s fault and Ménard is incompetent, to Gardaworld and Ménard is yet another victim of the Afghan legal system and corrupt officials.

For this deal, I was instantly reminded by the readership, as well as personally recalling all of Afghanistan’s past legal shenanigans.  Doug mentioned the Bill Shaw story where he was thrown in an Afghan jail on false bribery charges. Trevor mentioned the other GardaWorld story of some contractors that got arrested because they had 30 AK’s on them. Funny that, contractors with guns in a war zone? Of course this story was related to the APPF scheme of seizing the weapons of companies–without paying those companies for said weapons.

Another story mentioned was the arrest of Michael Hearn of Global Strategies Group for not registering their weapons. Those weapons according to the company, were parts guns that were not serviceable, used to repair other AKs.  I am sure there are other incidents that I am forgetting, but you get the idea. Kimberly Motley could probably add something to this conversation because of her extensive dealings with the Afghan legal system.

Some other stories of contractors wrongly thrown in Afghan jails include guys like Phillip Young, who thanks to Kimberly’s work, was set free. Another guy I have written about in the past was Robert Langdon, whom is still rotting away in prison.

The other interesting point on this story is Ménard’s  background. Michael Yon was highly critical of this leader back when he was a general in the Canadian Arm Forces posted in Afghanistan.  But even Michael’s current tone is one of being skeptical as to why he is in an Afghan jail.

I imagine the way this will work out is that he will stay in prison until the company or his family pays the fine. Hopefully he doesn’t stay in prison as long as Bill Shaw. Bill spent two years at Pul-e-Charkhi prison and was fined £16,185! Kimberly was also hot on this case and was instrumental in getting him released. –Matt

Edit: 02/19/2014- Daniel was released from detention. Story here.

 

 

 

Former Brigadier-General Daniel Ménard, the former head of Canadian forces in Afghanistan who now works for private security firm GardaWorld, was detained there since about Jan. 12.
By Allan Woods
Jan 29 2014
Former Canadian brigadier-general Daniel Ménard, who was fined and demoted for having a sexual relationship with a female subordinate, has been sitting in an Afghan jail for nearly three weeks, the Toronto Star has learned.
The former head of Canadian forces in the country, who now works for private security firm GardaWorld, was detained on or about Jan. 12. He was picked up by local authorities after leaving a meeting with Afghan government officials to discuss issues related to the development of Afghan security forces, Joe Gavaghan, a spokesman for the company, said in an interview Wednesday.
“He was leaving a meeting at the ministry office and a couple of officials approached him. They said, ‘We’ve got a problem with something and we’d like you to come with us to clear it up.’ Off he went and the next thing he knew he was going to be detained until they cleared it up.”
Ménard has not been charged with breaking any laws, Gavaghan said, adding the incident is based on an “administrative misunderstanding” related to its licence to operate in Afghanistan as a private security firm.
Gavaghan said the former commander of the 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, based out of CFB Valcartier, appeared in a Kabul court Wednesday.
“This involves some kind of administrative issue with our operating licence. It was kind of a technicality. It’s been cleared up and we believe that the individual is going to be released very shortly,” Gavaghan said.
“Right now we’re just trying to do everything we can to make sure there’s no further complications or anything that would delay that.”

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Industry Talk: Contractors Imprisoned In Iraq Planned An Escape, Suffered Under Care Of Guards

He said the detainment brought back the horrors of the late Saddam Hussein’s brutal and sadistic regime to Iraqi nationals who were part of his extraction team.
“The Iraqi members of my team were absolutely terrified, they had been through this during Saddam’s terror reign and with the death of the dictator they thought it was all over. The detainment and psychological torture brought back vivid memories for them,” Mr Fisher shared.

Well, here is part 2 of this whole thing and we are now starting to get a better picture of what happened to these guys. I am also disgusted with what Iraq did to these men. I see the words in these testimonies below like ‘psychological torture, filth, squalor, moments of terror, fearful, deplorable, lives threatened, food placed on the ground with flies, and they are supposed to be our ally.’  If Iraq’s intent was to bring back the days of what it was like under Saddam, then they did a great job.

As to the details, I guess they were working for Triple Canopy and it wasn’t just 3 contractors, but 7 contractors. The other 4 were local Iraqi security specialists. They were also on a mission to retrieve equipment for the US government during this draw down.

There was also another thing mentioned that perked me up.

Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) said he learned from Melissa Antiohos that her husband was in an Iraqi jail.
“He received virtually no assistance at all from his own government,” said King. “Nobody from the American embassy out in Baghdad went to see him at all.”
The U.S. State Department declined to discuss the charges made by King.
Antiohos said what happened to him was “unfortunate, given our contribution to their nation.”
“They are supposed to be our ally,” he said.

It is hard for me to imagine that the US Embassy was not immediately working on the release of these folks? But if true, that is not cool at all. This contractor team had Americans in it, they were doing a job for the US government through a contract, and a matter like this should have been handled and fixed on day one. I mean we have plenty of diplomats and State folks in Iraq, complete with a massive security force and logistics.

Now in the second article below, that is when the whole ‘planning to escape’ thing came up. I imagine SERE training was kicking in with Alex (former Special Forces) and the others, and based on how long they were detained and their treatment, I am sure some escape planning was in order. Here is the quote below.

According to the 41-year-old (Mark Fisher), the Iraqi military played psychological games with them promising imminent release while pointing loaded automatic machine guns at them. “Their favourite words were ‘believe me’ and ‘you’re going home tomorrow’ but it didn’t happen for 18 days.
“After hearing these words for the first few days, we knew that our captors were playing games with us and that’s when we began plotting our escape,” he said.

Unbelievable. Well guys, pass this one around and get the word out. If Triple Canopy makes a statement, I will post that as well. –Matt

 

Freed security contractor Alex Antiohos, left, is joined by U.S. Rep. Peter King during a news conference Friday.

Long Island contractor held in an Iraqi jail for three weeks speaks out about ‘deplorable’ conditions
Rep. Peter King said no U.S. embassy officials went to visit him
BY Matthew Lysiak & Corky Siemaszko
Friday, December 30 2011
For the Long Island contractor who was trapped in an Iraqi jail for three weeks, it was filth, squalor and uncertainty interrupted by “moments of terror.”
“I was definitely fearful at times,” a weary-looking Alex Antiohos said Friday. “But I was making a concerted effort to suppress my emotions and my feelings in order to ensure that everyone remained calm.”
Antiohos, 32, spoke out three days after he and two other Americans were released by their Iraqi captors.
“I’m thrilled, thrilled to be home,” said the 32-year-old former Green Beret. “I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and ringing in the new year.”
Antiohos, who lives in North Babylon, was working for a private security firm in Iraq. His ordeal began on Dec. 9, when he and two colleagues were detained by members of the Iraqi Defense Ministry while escorting a convoy.
They said the papers of Antiohos and the other Americans — Jonas March of Savannah, Ga., and Kevin Fisher of Fiji — were not in order.
For 24 hours, Antiohos said they were held at a checkpoint with 15 Iraqi nationals. He said he called his wife, Melissa, and fully expected to be released.
Then, suddenly, they were arrested.
“Very surprised,” a guarded Antiohos said when asked for his reaction. “One would expect that the Iraqis would be a little more friendly.”
The worst was yet to come.
The trio were taken to a “filthy” facility in Mahmudiyah, which is part of the infamous “Triangle of Death.”
“It was deplorable,” Antiohos said. “There was limited electricity, no heat. It’s difficult to describe. In general, your average American would consider it appalling.”
And the food was even worse.
“Food placed on the ground with flies,” he said. “No running water.”
The Iraqi guards mostly left the prisoners alone. But when a high-ranking officer appeared, they got “aggressive,” he said.
“There were lives threatened,” he said. “That kind of thing. We were treated fairly most of the time with moments of terror.”
As the days wore on, Antiohos said they wondered when the U.S. government would spring them. It was, he said, “very frustrating.”
Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.) said he learned from Melissa Antiohos that her husband was in an Iraqi jail.
“He received virtually no assistance at all from his own government,” said King. “Nobody from the American embassy out in Baghdad went to see him at all.”
The U.S. State Department declined to discuss the charges made by King.
Antiohos said what happened to him was “unfortunate, given our contribution to their nation.”
“They are supposed to be our ally,” he said.
Story here.

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Fiji man plotted escape from Iraqis
Felix Chaudhary
Monday, January 02, 2012
DURING his 18-day detainment and psychological torture at the hands of the Iraqi military, a Fiji man began planning his group’s escape.
Mark Fisher, a former Republic of Fiji Military Forces sergeant and an employee of United States security contractor Triple Canopy Incorporated and his fellow workers were held captive for 18 days while retrieving equipment left behind by the US Army pull out.

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Legal News: Robert Langdon Escapes Death Sentence After Paying Afghan Family

     Thanks to Elena for forwarding me this news about Robert.  This article describes briefly what the ‘ibra’ is, and it is an interesting concept.

     As for Robert, the only thing I have to add is that I hope he survives imprisonment for the next 20 years in Pol-e-Charki prison. –Matt

Australian escapes death sentence after paying Afghan family

Ex-soldier has sentence commuted to 20 years in jail after paying relatives of murdered guard $100,000

By Jon Boone

Wednesday 5 January 2011

An Australian private security guard who murdered an Afghan worker has escaped the death sentence by paying the family of his victim $100,000 (£65,000), court documents reveal.

The former Australian soldier was handed the death sentence last January after a Kabul court found him guilty of shooting an Afghan colleague before making a crude attempt to make the crime look like a Taliban attack.

But it emerged this week that Robert William Langdon persuaded two supreme court judges that he should be allowed to live after the family of the dead man, who was known as Karimullah, accepted a large compensation payment raised by Langdon’s relatives in Australia.

However, the payment, known in sharia law as ibra, was not enough to commute the whole sentence, so Langdon will face 20 years in Kabul’s notorious Pol-e-Charki prison, home to Taliban and al-Qaida inmates as well as criminals. The jail term is thought to be the longest given to a westerner in Afghanistan since the toppling of the Taliban regime in 2001.

At the time of the killing in May 2009, Langdon was working for Four Horsemen International, a private firm which works with the US military and specialises in protecting military supply convoys.

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Afghanistan: Update On Robert Langdon, By Elena Fon

     Elena has been kind enough to give us all an update on the condition of Robert Langdon, and it doesn’t sound good.  Bill Shaw made a comment on how horrible the prisons are in Afghanistan, and I certainly do not doubt that Robert is suffering there. And with the great news about Bill Shaw’s release, and the dismal report he gave about the prisons there, Robert Langdon (and Phil Young for that matter) should be the next focus.

     So what needs to be done?  Well for one, it takes pressure on the Australian government and their folks in Afghanistan, for them to influence the Afghans with the hopes of getting Rob back to Australia. You can sign the petition below and you can get the word out. You can also join the Robert Langdon FB page and pass this stuff on to any media types and your friends.  The more publicity for this case, the better. Also, you can write your consulate in Afghanistan, and hopefully they can apply some pressure on the Australians to do more. –Matt

Facebook for Robert Langdon here.

Edit: July 11, 2010- Here is an update from Elena.  Check it out:

Hi again Matt,

Would you please add the following to your latest post on Rob( and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter)?

First of all want to thank those people who have signed the petition and have spread the word.

However, there are still only 324 signatures on the petition and I am disappointed at the very few people who actually contacted me offering their help. I truly appreciate those who did so, but I was surprised that those who did respond  I can count on the fingers of one hand – what I did get was an overflow of Nigerian scammers offering to make me their heiress if only I supplied them with my bank account details. Not quite what I was hoping for.

Rob’s Legal Position at a Critical Stage.

 Rob is currently awaiting the final stage of the appeal process which will decide whether he is to hang or not.

Karim’s family have agreed on the amount of the ibra (compensation) payment to be paid and Rob’s family have raised the money. There will be a civil hearing

where this matter will be recorded. This will clear the way for Rob’s final appeal against his death sentence to the Afghan criminal division of the Supreme Court. This hearing will decide his fate; his sentence of death by hanging will either be upheld or commuted to a term of imprisonment.

If his death sentence is upheld there is no further avenue of appeal except a plea of clemency to President Hamid Karzai by the Australian government. There is every indication that the Australian government have decided Rob is expendable. Indeed they are doing their utmost to keep Rob’s case out of sight and deter those who want to save Rob and bring him home  I speak from personal experience of this.The Appeal hearing is slated to take place within the next 2-3 months. Now is the time to let the Australian government know what you think .  After the hearing, it may be too late; if it suits the current political agenda Rob could be executed shortly after sentencing.

So please everybody get writing. See above for details of the Australian Embassy in Kabul. But also it is so important to write to the Australian PM Julia Gillard, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia 2600.  With a copy to the Leader of the Opposition: Tony Abbott, address as above. It will only take a few minutes but it could help save Rob’s life.

Bad faith of the Australian government The Australian government is renowned for it’s uselessness in helping it’s citizens in trouble abroad. There is an old joke here that if you’re in trouble overseas, throw away your Aussie passport and say you’re a US citizen. A few recent examples of the general policy of inaction of the Australian government.

Nigel Brennan was an Australian aid worker kidnapped in Somalia along  with a Canadian woman. The Brennan family were told by the Dept of Foreign Affairs and

Trade  to do nothing on their own behalf to help their son. Seven months later DFAT coolly informed them there was nothing they could do; case closed.  The Brennans then hired a Canadian hostage expert who had to start from scratch as the Australian authorities refused to fill him in.  Finally, after eight more months of negotiations, Nigel Brennan was released and came home to his family.

There are currently 3 young Australian drug mules on death row in Bali (part of the Bali 9). Now I hold no brief for drug-smugglers but the news report that our

former PM Kevin Rudd had asked his Indonesian counterpart if he would kindly delay   their executions in an election year took my breath away for it’s sheer cynicism.

Britt Lapthorne was a young Aussie backpacker on holiday in Croatia in 2008 when she disappeared, to be found later in the sea reduced to a headless, limbless torso. The Australian govt put it about she had probably committed suicide and forbade her family to do anything off their own bat ( sound familiar?)  but to leave it all up to them as they didn’t want to damage trade relations with Croatia.  Witnesses came forward ….. and were ignored and by the time the Lapthorne family decided to take matters into their own hands, it was too late, a cover-up had taken place. To this day nobody has  been tried for Britt Lapthorne’s murder.

So what chance Robert Langdon?

As the organiser of the campaign to Save Rob Langdon I urge you to contact me if you want to help, know rRob, have any news of him or have any suggestions what to do.

I am on Facebook and you can email me: fon_elenaisabel.com.au

Again a big thank you to those who have shown their support so far.  I need lots more of you.

Elena

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Robert Langdon

Where’s the support for Rob Langdon that he so badly needs ?

By Elena Fon

The great news is that Bill Shaw has been released from his ordeal at Pol e Charki and his innocence vindicated.

His release was due in no small part to the huge efforts of Lisa and Liz, his daughter and wife, in their very active and public  campaign for his release. Thousands of people signed the on-line petition and wrote to their MP and the British PM David Cameron to protest at the blatant miscarriage of justice Bill was subjected to.  No clearer proof exists of people- power. The British government could not afford to ignore the collective opinion so forcefully expressed. Without the efforts of Liz, Lisa and everyone who joined them Bill Shaw might still be in an Afghan prison

 So why aren’t people flocking to help Rob Langdon in his time of need?  If it’s left up to the Australian government he will likely be executed according to the wrongful sentence handed down by the corrupt Afghan courts. Rob needs more than good wishes, he needs help right now. Help from his mates, from strangers, from anybody who doesn’t want to see a man wrongfully hanged.

I have very recently received a report that Rob ” is in a very bad way” and that for some unknowable reason he refuses to join the other European prisoners in the relative safety of the  high security wing in Pol e Charki prison in Kabul. And that he recently refused an invitation sent by the other European prisoners, including South African  psc Philip Young),see feraljundi 19 June2010, to join them, the only people who can offer Rob some support and solidarity. Instead Rob apparently prefers to remain in a cramped crowded cell with 22 other men, Afghans and drug-smugglers,  with no English conversation at all.

 In fact I’m wondering if Rob does receive any visits, food, mail? Is he even aware that people wish him well and want to help him? Does anybody have any hard facts here?

Rob, needs your help and sooner rather than later.

For full details of Rob’s case I refer you to my article in the June issue of the Overwatch Report here.

There is also a petition you can sign here.

But come on, guys, you can do more than just a signature. Help me to organise a Bill Shaw type campaign, and bring Rob home to Australia to serve his sentence.

Contact Elena:  fon_elenaisabel@yahoo.com.au

Australian Embassy in Afghanistan here.

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Call To Action: Free South African Security Contractor Philip Young From Afghan Prison!!!

     One operator said Phil Young had shot the Afghan guard in order to stop the bloodbath. According to the operator, the dead man’s brother was well-known in Taliban ranks. His family lived in a Taliban stronghold on the Pakistani border.    

     Trouble maker. The guard had apparently been a troublemaker for some time and was about to be fired. The six guards had apparently been conspiring for some time to kidnap or kill the foreigners on a certain day early in October. Young and the guards worked for the American company Anham, which is linked to the American government’s Counternarcotics Advisory Teams (CNAT), in Lakshar Gah. The Macedonian guard commander apparently knew of the plot but did nothing to stop it. 

     “Phil and some of his colleagues returned that day from a mission and when he saw the six in civilian clothes but armed with AK47s, he immediately suspected trouble,” said the operator. “He confronted the men, upon which one aimed a weapon at Phil and fired a shot.” The shot missed Young and in self-defence, he fired three shots at the guard as he apparently realised that the lives of many of his colleagues would be in danger if all six of the men started firing at them. According to the operator, the central government in Afghanistan had rules and regulations for security guards, which stated that a person could fire back if he was being shot at.

*****

     This makes me sick.  All of these contractors that I have posted lately who are currently imprisoned in Afghanistan, are at the mercy of a corrupt government and pathetic justice system.  Just look at the facts with Philip Young’s case?  He should be given a medal and not a prison sentence. From the sounds of it, his actions probably saved the lives of his fellow contractors on that day, and yet he is currently being jerked around by a pathetic justice system in Afghanistan.

     So what can we do?  First, pass this around to everyone.  Second, write to the British Embassy in Kabul and let them know how you feel.  South Africa does not have diplomatic representation in Afghanistan, and the British government has agreed to help.  I say write the US Embassy as well, because what is going on with this man is just plain wrong. Thanks to Cassie for giving me the heads up on this. –Matt

Facebook for British Embassy in Kabul here.

Facebook for Philip Young here

Address: British Embassy, 15th Street Roundabout, Wazir Akbar Khan,PO Box: 334 Kabul, Afghanistan

Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday  08:30  to 16:30

Telephone:  (93)  (0) 700 102 000 (Switchboard)

Fax:  (93)  (0) 700 102 250  (Management)

E-mail: BritishEmbassy.Kabul@fco.gov.uk

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SA man gets longer sentence

2010-06-18

Erika Gibson, Beeld

Pretoria – A South African man who appealed against his five-year prison sentence in Afghanistan was given even worse news when his imprisonment was extended to 16 years.Security specialist Philip Young was devastated by the news, his brother Pat Young said.”My brother is dismayed, angry and frustrated.”

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Haiti: Warlord ‘Blade’ Broke Out Of Prison With 3000 During Quake

   Boy, if there was any a reason to call up some serious bounty hunter types to find this guy, now would be it.  All of these criminals will only add to the chaos and heartache of the city. Especially guys like Blade, because you know that jackass is going to take advantage of this disaster.

   In this case, you could set up a bounty hunting program, and put a price on each criminal’s head for capture.  I think this would be pretty effective once everyone is getting fed and has water, and are looking for ways to fix their city and establish order. Of course a prison needs to be set up as well.  I would classify this as a priority during the recovery phase of this operation.

   On that note, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has the idea I am thinking of for these guys.  Set up a tent city for these prisoners, and use the prisoners to clean up the city or unbury the bodies for future identification.  Because putting bodies in pits now is an expedient, but eventually those bodies will have to be accounted for. The clean up is going to require everyone.

   The other one that bothers me, are the mentally unsound criminals who abused, murdered or raped innocents to earn their incarceration. Undoubtedly, these types will thrive in an environment like this, and they must be hunted down and stopped. Pffft. –Matt

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Warlord Blade broke out of prison with 3000 during quake

January 18, 2010

The thousands of gang members who escaped from Haiti’s main prison when the earthquake struck have added to the security difficulties in the country.

More than 3000 inmates broke free on Tuesday, including gangsters who once ruled the country’s largest slum with violence and intimidation.

They stole guns from prison guards at the National Penitentiary and went straight to the collapsed justice ministry to set it on fire and destroy any records of their incarceration or criminal history.

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