Entries in Prison (31)


Notorious French Criminal Escapes from Prison

Kevin Horan/Stone(LILLE, France) -- French police are searching for a notorious armed robber who escaped from prison on Saturday morning.

According to BBC News, Redoine Faid used dynamite and took four prison guards hostage before breaking out of Sequedin prison.

Faid was locked up in 1998 after being convicted of a series of armed robberies, but was released on parole in 2009. After his release, Faid published a book about how he grew into a life of crime. Faid was taken back to jail in 2011 for a violation of his parole.

Faid may have received the explosives from his wife on Saturday morning when she visited him at the prison, according to BBC News. After his escape in a getaway car, Faid burned the car and took another vehicle.

Officials are still investigating the escape. Faid is considered armed and dangerous.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Cat Nabbed for Smuggling Contraband in Brazilian Prison

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A cunning feline was detained by Brazilian police after it was busted smuggling escape tools taped to its body into a prison.

On New Year’s Eve, the cat was spotted by a guard at medium security prison Judge Luiz de Oliveira Souza in Arapiraca, in the northeast of Brazil.

Taped to its body were two saws, two drills for concrete, a headset, a memory card, a cellphone, three batteries and a mobile phone charger, according to a police statement.  Officials said the material would serve to saw bars and dig tunnels.

According to officers at the prison, the cat would often be seen tiptoeing in and out of the prison gate, and they said that it may have been raised by inmates held at the prison.

After the items were removed, the cat was taken to a local animal center.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Seven Bolivian Officials Arrested, Accused of Extorting Jailed American Man

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia) -- Seven Bolivian government officials were arrested on Tuesday after being accused of a plan to rob and extort an American who has been jailed without charge in the South American country for 18 months, according to Bolivia's interior minister.

Jacob Ostreicher, a businessman from Brooklyn who has maintained his innocence, has long said that Bolivian officials targeted him for his successful rice-growing venture they seized when he was arrested last year after being accused of money laundering.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Bolivian Interior Minister Carlos Romero announced the arrests of the seven officials, including the Interior Ministry's director of legal affairs, Fernando Rivera, and the judge who first jailed Ostreicher. But he offered few details other than to say those detained were suspected of illegal enrichment and extortion, among other crimes.

In May, Nightline traveled to Palmasola, the Bolivian prison where Ostreicher had been held since his arrest in June 2011, to hear his story first-hand.

"Absolutely 100-percent innocent," Ostreicher told Nightline anchor Terry Moran at the time. "And the prosecutors know I am 100-percent innocent."

In Palmasola, there are no guards inside the walls. Prisoners govern themselves. They walk around the streets and alleys between the pavilions of cells. Some bring their wives and children to live with them. Murders are common, as are drugs and prostitution.

"I never, never go out at night," Ostreicher said at the time. "It is absolutely frightening, walking around, like what you -- wherever you walked today, at night, it's very scary."

Despite the arrests, Ostreicher's wife, Miriam Ungar, today told Nightline exclusively that she is keeping her expectations for her husband's freedom tempered, saying she was not getting her hopes up that the arrests meant her husband would be released.

Jacob Ostreicher, a 53-year-old former flooring contractor, turned to growing rice in Bolivia in 2008 after he said a family friend -- a prominent lawyer in Switzerland -- told him it would be a promising investment opportunity.

Ostreicher said he put $200,000, his life savings, into the venture and became a very junior partner in a $25 million project. He said things went well for a year or so. The first harvest yielded nearly 40 million pounds of rice. More than 200 Bolivian workers were employed. Ostreicher helped manage it, traveling frequently to Bolivia.

Then in 2011, Bolivian police arrested one of Ostreicher's former employees and accused him of being involved with drug criminals. Ostreicher said he cooperated fully with police -- and then was arrested himself.

Prosecutors claimed they were investigating whether the $25 million that started the rice business came from drug money, but they have yet to produce evidence to support their allegations.

"So we spent close to $20,000 to get together 1,300 documents to show them the origin of the money," Ostreicher told Nightline. "We provided that to the judge. And the judge gave me my freedom."

But six days later, the judge reversed his decision and Ostreicher was sent back to prison. The judge was later promoted to the appellate court, further delaying proceedings.

Today, Ostreicher is in a hospital after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, but remains in Bolivian police custody. Bolivian authorities said that Bolivian law allows for the incarceration of people without charge for up to 18 months.

He has been in prison for 545 days and at his most recent hearing, on Aug. 30, a judge denied his request to be released on bail, according to his website.

Miriam Ungar visits her husband frequently in prison and said leaving him to return home is "torture." The Ostreichers have five children and 11 grandchildren, and she said the little ones don't understand what happened to their grandfather.

On the wall in the dining area near his cell, Ostreicher's fellow prisoners painted an American flag for him. It is an emotional talisman for him -- a slender, essential lifeline home.

"It means everything to me," he said. "This is what I got, is my flag. I will never look at the American flag the same way again.... Basically I'm hoping, one day, I will see this flag in my country."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mass Prison Break on Texas Border

Kevin Horan/Stone(WASHINGTON) -- Authorities have launched a massive manhunt for more than 130 inmates who made a daring daylight escape from a Mexican prison using a tunnel equipped with ropes and electric cables.

More than half of those who escaped from the prison in Piedras Negras, just across the border from Eagle Rock Texas, were serving time for federal crimes, including drug trafficking. Though drug gangs are often tied to prison escapes in Mexico, authorities have not yet linked the escape to a specific gang.

The attorney general of Coahuila state, Homero Ramos Gloria, said that three employees of the prison, including the director, were being questioned about the potential involvement of staff in the mass break-out. According to Mexican media reports, a dozen guards were also detained.

Ramos told a Mexican television station that the 21-foot-long tunnel, which was four feet in diameter , "was not made today. It had been there for months." Ropes and electric cables were also found nearby.

"We have 132 inmates escaping through a tunnel," said Ramos, "and it doesn't make sense." The number has also been reported as 129 and 134 in the Mexican press.

According to Mexican media reports, the escape occurred just after 2 p.m. Monday and took 15 minutes. The inmates overpowered guards in the prison's watchtowers, escaped through the tunnel and cut through a chain link fence into a vacant lot. No alert was sounded until an hour after the inmates, who represented a fifth of the prison's total population, had escaped.

More than 5,000 police and soldiers are now searching for the escapees. In an emailed statement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it had been made aware of the escape and was in touch with Mexican officials.

"We remain in communication with our law enforcement partners in Mexico and maintain a shared interest in keeping our mutual border secure," said CBP spokesman Dennis Smith.

In 2010, more than 150 inmates broke out of a prison in Nuevo Laredo, across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas. Forty-one guards were charged with aiding in that escape, the largest in Mexico in recent years.

During a 2009 escape at a prison in Zacatecas, 30 men dressed as federal police officers raided the prison and liberated more than 50 members of the Zetas drug gang.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Afghanistan Takes Control of Bagram Prison from US

Kevin Horan/Stone(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Bagram prison, the main U.S. detention center in Afghanistan over the past decade, was formally turned over to Afghan authorities during a ceremony Monday.

In a statement, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that government control of the facility holding more than 3,000 prisoners helps move the rest of the world closer to recognition of Afghan national sovereignty.

Foreign Minister spokesman Janan Musazai also promised "humane treatment of all detainees and prisoners in accordance to our national and international obligations."

However, some human rights groups remain skeptical about Afghanistan's commitment to non-abusive treatment of detainees.

Open Society Afghanistan said following the transfer of Bagram that other countries in similar situations often play fast and loose with regulations of internment.

Spokesman Rachel Reid stated, "In our experience in other countries, it’s been very open to abuse, because what it enables a government to do is to detain people without trial and often without a lawyer."

Meanwhile, U.S. Deputy Public Affairs Officer Jamie Graybeal stressed that while Bagram is now under Afghan control, the new arrangement won't limit American authority in capturing and detaining enemies of the state and criminals.

That could turn into a further source of contention between Washington and Kabul since the U.S. is concerned that the Afghans may start freeing Taliban prisoners, a possibility that might keep the American military from turning over suspects it captures.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Taliban Jail Break: More than a Dozen Escape Overnight

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- More than a dozen prisoners, including members of the Taliban, escaped from jail Friday in Sar-e-Pul province, in northern Afghanistan.

Afghan officials say insurgents detonated a bomb outside the prison walls, and the prisoners escaped through the rubble. Afghan guards fired at the escapees, killing three, but fourteen prisoners are still at large.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Taliban Pulls Off Biggest Jailbreak in Pakistani History

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ISLAMABAD) -- Hundreds of dangerous militants are on the loose in northwestern Pakistan after Taliban militants freed them Sunday from a prison in the town of Bannu.

Described as the biggest jailbreak in the country's history, the Taliban was able to blast through the front gate and free 386 inmates with virtually no resistance from prison guards.  The installation houses about 900 captives, some of them on death row.

Boasting about it afterwards, a Taliban spokesman said, "We have released our men without losing a single man.  We had been planning this blessed operation for months."

Among those freed was a former military commander sentenced to die for the 2003 assassination attempt on the life of one-time President Pervez Musharraf.

By nightfall, only about 11 inmates had been rounded up, with about two dozen electing to return to the jail voluntarily.

It's believed that most of the escapees wound up in North Waziristan where the Taliban and al Qaeda have held sway for years.  It's also where most Taliban militants regroup before crossing over into Afghanistan to fight the war in that country.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Afghanistan Taking Control of Major Prison Run by US

Kevin Horan/Stone(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The U.S. and Afghanistan seem headed for another serious setback in their relations as an Afghan three-star general is poised to assume control of Bagram prison from the American military.

Gen. Ghulam Farooq Barekzai, a former top official with the Defense Ministry, has been named to run the detention center that holds at least 3,200 inmates.

The U.S. agreed last month to allow Afghanistan to run the prison after Kabul argued that it was a violation of its national sovereignty to have prisoners detained indefinitely by foreign guards.

What is disturbing to Washington and the Pentagon is that the U.S. will have no veto power over which prisoners are released, many of whom are mid-to-high level Taliban militants.

It's expected that if these detainees are set free, they'll return to the battlefield to fight against coalition and Afghan forces.

At best, the Afghans will permit American officials to have what is termed a "consultative role" to express concerns about certain detainees.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden's Widows and Daughters Sentenced in Pakistan

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) -- Osama Bin Laden’s widows and daughters were sentenced on Monday for living in Pakistan illegally.

The late al-Qaeda’s three widows and two daughters were sentenced to 45 days in prison and fined 10,000 rupees. The prison term starts from March 3, 2012, and as the five have already served a month of their sentence, they may be deported in two weeks, according to BBC News.

Bin Laden was killed by U.S. special forces in May last year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Russian Prisoner Escapes by Helicopter

File photo. (Stocktrek/Getty Images)(MOSCOW) -- It sounds like something out of a movie. A prison escape so daring it almost seemed improbable. According to a Russian news report, a convicted murderer climbed a rope ladder into a helicopter and escaped as guards fired shots at the chopper.

The incident took place at a high security penitentiary that houses about 1,700 prisoners in the Volgoda Region of Russia, just east of St. Petersburg. There, according to RIA Novasti, a prisoner named Alexei Shestakov was halfway through a 24-year sentence for murder.

Thursday morning the helicopter approached the prison and dropped a rope ladder. Shestakov reportedly scampered up and the aircraft darted away, dodging shots from prison guards who tried in vain to prevent the escape.

RIA Novasti reports that the helicopter crew was forced to fly towards the prison by the escapee’s accomplices.

“At the scheduled time today the helicopter’s crew landed it at the designated place, taking on board a man and a woman. After the aircraft took off, they drew guns and forced the pilot to hover above the penal colony and throw out a rope. The convict used the rope to climb onboard,” an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Police eventually caught the escaped convict, who was “slightly injured” after refusing to surrender when cornered by law enforcement. The people who helped him escape are reportedly still at large.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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