‘SA consular authorities a brick wall’
Sean Brehm, the South African contractor arrested in Afghanistan and deported to the US, could face 10 years in jail after being charged with assault and grievous bodily harm.
Brehm was charged last week by a federal grand jury in Virginia, after he allegedly stabbed a British security expert, John Osborne, at a Nato base in Kandahar. The trial is expected to start in May.
His wife Carol Brehm is yet to visit him since his arrest in November. She said the US had been more supportive than the South African government.
“I’ve just come from the US consulate and they’ve given me a 10-year visa. They were very helpful and supportive … in fact the Americans have been better than the South Africans,” she said.
The Cape Times previously reported Carol had complained of meeting a “brick wall” when dealing with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRC).
She maintained that the South African government had not kept its promises.
“Nobody from the South African embassy in Washington has visited Sean – I was told that would happen but it hasn’t yet,” she said. She was disappointed her passport application had not been fast-tracked, and remained unconvinced by pledges of support made to the Cape Times by DIRC spokesman Clayson Monyela.
Carol received a letter from the DIRC informing her she would receive no financial support to visit her jailed husband.
Sean is reportedly struggling to cope in prison. She has asked that he be given access to a psychologist and chaplain.
Support from friends, family and international airlines has ensured she can afford to visit her husband in February.
Monyela said: “We can say that we are noting her concerns … and we will assist wherever possible.”
On the issue of passports, Monyela said: “She called to see if the process could be fast-tracked. We said this is not normal practice…because passports are dealt with by Home Affairs.”
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