The affordable education loan option
Cape Town - A new plea has been sent to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, for the release of a South African prisoner, whose mother has died.
The Cape Argus reported two weeks ago that Amnesty International had demanded the release of Bevan Campbell - who remains behind bars two and a half years after he should have been released.
Campbell, from Joburg, had been working in the security industry when he was arrested at Kabul airport on August 3, 2007 and jailed for possession of drugs.
After serving six years, most of them at the Pul-e-Charki prison in Kabul, he qualified for a reduction of his sentence under a presidential pardon - but remains in custody, despite numerous pleas.
On Friday, a member of Amnesty International, Dr Thinus Coetzee, wrote a new plea, urging President Karzai, on Campbell’s behalf: “Yesterday his mother was diagnosed as suffering from pancreatic cancer, which had spread.
“Sadly, this morning she suffered a heart attack and could not be revived… Excellency, I am tasked by the family to approach you and to ask you to now show mercy under these circumstances.
“Bevan had to be released already. As you have graciously given several pardons over the past six years, he already qualified to be released two and a half years ago. We join him in questioning why he is still then being detained.”
Coetzee added that Campbell’s father’s health was “also now fading fast”.
At the time of going to press last night, the family had not received a reply.
Campbell had excitedly prepared to return home to South Africa in mid-August last year. What has followed, he has described as “mental torture”. On about 100 occasions until May 28, prison authorities went through the motions of being about to release him, only to return him to his cell.
A litany of supposed reasons have been offered to him, but he suspects authorities are awaiting a bribe.
Members of his family and legal team have all sent a string of letters to the Afghan authorities, to no avail.