In 2003, during the Howard years, Holly Deane-Johns was sentenced to 31 years prison in Thailand for possessing 136 grams of heroin. A large spoonful. Moves for leniency following the manifestly excessive penalty were either not made or not successful until after the Coalition left office.In December 2007, just days after the change of government, Deane-Johns returned to a women’s prison in Australia. She was released in 2012.Stephen John Sutton was arrested in Argentina in 2003 on narcotics charges. Despite many mitigating factors, the first offender copped 11 years. Not only did the Howard Government fail to secure a fair trial and outcome, Australia’s Federal Police aided Argentinean authorities in his arrest.Sutton was released in 2008.David Hicks was captured by local militia in Afghanistan in 2001 and sold to the U.S. military who confined and tortured him in Guantanamo Bay prison for six years. Despite a claimed special relationship between Australia’s PM John Howard and U.S. president George W Bush, and a compelling case for Hicks’ innocence, the Coalition failed to secure either his release or a fair hearing.Hicks was relocated to a prison in Australia in April 2007 on condition he plead guilty to trumped-up charges without a trial. He was released in December 2007, immediately after Howard left office.
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