Information Pack for British Prisoners

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1 Information Pack for British Prisoners in Argentina Author British Embassy Buenos Aires Date 23 July 2015

2 INTRODUCTION... 3 WHO CAN HELP?... 3 ABOUT THE EMBASSY... 3 WHO ARE THE CONSULAR REPRESENTATIVES... 4 CONTACT INFORMATION... 5 FIRST STEPS... 6 WHO WILL KNOW THAT I HAVE BEEN DETAINED?... 6 WHAT MY FAMILY WILL BE TOLD?... 6 WHAT WILL THE CONSULATE DO?... 6 WOULD I HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD IN THE UK?... 6 VISITS... 6 HOW DO MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARRANGE A VISIT?... 6 HOW MANY VISITS AM I ALLOWED?... 7 CONSULAR VISITS... 7 WHAT CAN VISITORS BRING?... 7 PRISON CONDITIONS/SERVICES... 7 ARRIVAL AT THE PRISON... 7 GENERAL PRISON CONDITIONS... 8 HOW CAN I RECEIVE MONEY?... 9 CAN I WORK OR STUDY IN PRISON?... 9 CAN I RECEIVE MEDICAL AND DENTAL TREATMENT? FOOD AND DIET MAIL/PARCELS CAN I MAKE PHONE CALLS? LEISURE AND ENTERTAINMENT DRUGS HOW CAN I MAKE A COMPLAINT ABOUT MISTREATMENT? THE ARGENTINE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS THE SYSTEM THE SAME AS THE UK? WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN WHEN I AM ARRESTED? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I AM CHARGED? FOR HOW LONG CAN I BE REMANDED IN CUSTODY? WHAT PROVISION IS THERE FOR BAIL? WHAT KIND OF LEGAL ASSISTANCE IS THERE? WHAT HAPPENS AT THE TRIAL? SENTENCES HOW CAN APPEALS BE MADE? WHAT PROVISION IS THERE FOR REDUCTION OF SENTENCE (REMISSION) E.G. FOR GOOD BEHAVIOUR? WHAT PROVISION IS THERE FOR EARLY RELEASE E.G. ON PAROLE? WHAT PROVISION IS THERE FOR CLEMENCY OR PARDON? WHAT ABOUT ANY FINANCIAL PENALTIES? IS TRANSFER TO ANOTHER PRISON WITHIN ARGENTINA POSSIBLE? IS TRANSFER TO THE UK A POSSIBILITY? WHAT ARE THE PROCEDURES FOR RELEASE AND DEPORTATION? PRISONERS ABROAD TRANSLATION OF USEFUL TERMS ANNEXES DISCLAIMER

3 INTRODUCTION Who can help? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): The FCO is represented overseas by its Embassies and Consulates (High Commissions in Commonwealth Countries). Both employ consular officers, and one of their duties is to provide help and advice to any British National who gets into difficulty in a foreign country. About the Embassy We are impartial; we are not here to judge you. We aim to make sure that you are treated properly and fairly in accordance with local regulations, and that you are treated no less favourably than other prisoners. We can answer questions about your welfare and about prison regulations but you must ask your lawyer or the court about legal matters. The attached list of lawyers is provided by the British Embassy for your convenience, but neither Her Majesty s Government, nor any official of the Consulate, take any responsibility for the competence or probity of any firm/advocate on the list or for the consequence of any legal action initiated or advice given. We cannot get you out of prison, pay fines or stand bail or interfere with local judicial procedures to get you out of prison nor secure you an earlier trial date; we cannot investigate a crime. We have tried to make sure that the information in this booklet is accurate and up to date, but the British Embassy cannot accept legal responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information. If in doubt contact a lawyer. 3

4 Who are the Consular representatives BUENOS AIRES Lucy Santamarina Vice Consul Carolina Carminatti Pro Consul Beatriz Medina Pro Consul 4

5 Contact Information BRITISH EMBASSY, Consular Section Dr Luis Agote 2412 (1425), Buenos Aires, Argentina Open to the public: Monday to Friday 9:00am to 1:00pm Office hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 4:30pm; Friday 8:30 to 2:00pm Consular Enquiries: option 2 Fax: Website: Lucy Santamarina Vice Consul Carolina Carminatti Pro Consul Beatriz Medina Pro Consul 5

6 FIRST STEPS Who will know that I have been detained? When a British citizen is arrested and detained in Argentina, the Argentine authorities must inform the respective Consulate / Embassy as it is the detainee s right to have this notification done by the authorities. The Embassy might be informed immediately after the detention; however, we are usually informed of your arrest once you have arrived at Court where the judge will take your declaration. We aim to make contact within 24 hours. What my family will be told? For reasons of confidentiality under the Data Protection Act we are not permitted to tell anyone, even your family, that you have been detained or what the charges are without your permission. Whilst it is up to you what information we will pass to your family, it is sometimes best if we are able to give at least some information to them to ease their worrying; they can also help to send you money or pay for a lawyer. What will the Consulate do? We aim to contact you 24 hours after we learn of your arrest and visit you within 48 hours; after this we aim to visit you every 4 months until you are sentenced. After your trial we will visit you every 6 months. In case of an emergency or if you have a sensitive issue that you would rather not discuss by telephone or in writing, we will consider making an additional visit. If appropriate, we will consider approaching the local authorities if you are not treated in line with internationally accepted standards. We can also help your family to send funds to you via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. See Annex 1 for instructions on how to do so. Will I have a criminal record in the UK? You should be aware that if you have been convicted for certain serious offences, such as sexual assault or drugs trafficking, we are obliged to inform the UK police. It is therefore possible that information about this offence may appear if a Criminal Records Bureau check were carried out by a prospective employer. VISITS How do my family and friends arrange a visit? We advise family members to contact us well in advance so that we can inform the prison administration and work on the visiting programme. In order to receive visitors you should provide the prison with the names of the people visiting you for them to be added to the Prison Visiting list. We will provide information on visiting procedures and details of what visitors can bring should your family members decide to come to Argentina. You can only receive visits from family members; friends are not allowed. 6

7 How many visits am I allowed? Internal regulations will establish the frequency and duration of ordinary visits, based on the inmate s behaviour and according to the prison s security level and the spaces available for this purpose. If you have been penalised with a prohibition order that keeps you from receiving visitors or with permanent or non-permanent loss of individual quarters, you are entitled to a single two-hour visit from a next of kin who you will nominate upon being notified of your penalty. Assistance visits may also be requested through health professionals and members or representatives of your religion, also diplomatic visitors and international institutions. For security reasons those persons will be checked as well as their belongings. Those prisoners whose relatives or next of kin live in distant places, for example more than 100 km away from the prison, or if the prison is more than 300 km away from the place of residence of a husband, children, parents, brothers/sisters or partner with visiting rights, the Special Visit regime will apply. If granted, you may be visited up to 5 consecutive days per month, for up to 3 hours each day. Consular staff can help your family to arrange this although these extra days are given by the prison administration, the decision is discretionary. Consular visits We aim to visit you every four months before you are sentenced, and every six months after trial. During our routine visits you will have the opportunity to discuss any health issues, security concerns, your treatment in prison and any other general issues that you wish to raise with our Consular staff. At each Consular visit, our staff will complete a "Visit Report Form". If there is any information that you would prefer not to disclose to a Next of Kin you should let us know during the visit. What can visitors bring? Argentina has a large number of prison facilities and regulations about permitted items vary from one prison to another and the rules are frequently changed. Therefore, families should contact the FCO in advance of their visit so we can provide them with an updated list. PRISON CONDITIONS/SERVICES (FOR INFORMATION ON FIRST STEPS AFTER DETENTION PLEASE SEE PAGE 13) Arrival at the prison After the judge passes the imprisonment or preventive custody sentence, you will be taken to a prison service facility. On arrival, the Prisoner Reception Centre will check your personal data and the judge s detention order. A new fingerprint card will be produced to certify your identity. You are likely to have your photo taken as well. All these documents will become your personal file. Personal Belongings When you first arrive, the authorities will take your money, and personal belongings that you are not allowed keeping for security reasons, for which you will be given a receipt. Keep the receipt in order for you to collect all your belongings once you leave prison. For this reason you will be frisked on 7

8 arrival to prevent any unauthorised substances or items from entering the facility. The storage of any belongings that are not part of the investigation, process, or evidence will need to be arranged privately. The British Embassy cannot store your personal belongings on your behalf. The only property we can keep for you are your passport and driver s licence. However, these are usually retained at the courts until the end of your sentence. Please note that your passport might be kept by the courts as evidence of the alleged crime or as a condition for your bail/parole. This measure is taken by the courts to prevent you from skipping bail. Medical check-up A doctor will examine you to assess you general health and prescribe treatment, if needed. This will be the first entry on your medical record, where all medical appointments will be recorded. All of this will be reported to the judge in charge of your case. Medical checks will be carried out by the prison health department in order to assess if you need any treatment for ongoing medical conditions (e.g. blood pressure, diabetes, HIV). Contacting your family and/or your Consulate On arrival, you have the right to make a telephone call to a relative or next of kin to communicate your detention. You will be handed a brochure with the address of the facility, which you may give to your family. You may use the public telephones available at the compound within the established hours. Public telephones operate with cards, but you may also make a collect call (dial *19) which will be paid by the person receiving the call. Another option is to send a letter by post, prepaying the stamp fee. The letter will be posted by the relevant prison office. It is important that on the back of the envelope you write your name and the address of the compound, to ensure that the letter is sent back to you if the recipient is not found. If, for any reason, you cannot contact your family, you may ask the Social Security Section or Division of your compound for help. We can always contact your family or friends on your behalf with your express consent. General prison conditions Overcrowding is a problem in most Argentine prisons so you cannot expect a single cell as a matter of course. For this reason, a request to be moved from one prison to another cannot always be granted. (You should raise this issue with your lawyer). Very few prisons in Argentina offer a special Module for foreigners, which are sometimes divided into different pavilions. Personal hygiene is an imperative. Most Argentine prisons will provide basic toiletries and linen. Other items can be purchased directly from the prison shop (canteen). Supply varies from one prison to another. If you need something in particular, ask whether your family can provide it. You are also responsible for keeping your living quarters clean. 8

9 You are allowed to wear your own clothes with the exception of some colours like light blue, grey or black and you cannot wear hard shoes or boots (in the case of ladies, sleeve-less shirts or miniskirts). Prison management will be responsible for providing food. Special meals will be based on the individual s health and dietary requirements. You may also buy food, or have it delivered to you by relatives or visitors. How can I receive money? There are two ways in which you can receive financial assistance while in prison. Private Funds: Deposited for you by your family or friends. See Annex 1 for instructions on how to send funds via the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Prisoners Abroad: If your family can t support you financially Prisoners Abroad may be able to send you a small grant every quarter for essentials. Money received from the UK will be converted into local currency and held on your behalf by our Embassy. Our Consular staff will either make a deposit at the prison s front desk (depending on our availability and distance from the prison) or will transfer your funds to you as a Postal Mandate via Correo Argentino. If you are to work in the prison (this will depend on the prison - normally a Colonia Penal in the interior of the country offers more possibilities than a prison in the city of Buenos Aires) and are to receive a Peculio (small payment) as compensation, you will need to have a CUIL number (tax number). A proof of identity will be required by the authorities to issue you with one. Ask your lawyer, he may have access to your passport which should be at the Juzgado. However, if you entered on a false passport, please write to us and we will issue a Certificate of Identity so that the authorities can grant you a CUIL number. Money sent to you will be deposited in your prison account. Please note that our Consular staff cannot be responsible for the loss of funds by the Prison Authorities. Please note that the Embassy does not provide financial support to British Nationals in prison abroad. Can I work or study in prison? You will be encouraged to acquire and improve your working habits and qualifications for your future life outside prison through activities suited to your intellectual and physical abilities. Depending on your behaviour you will be allowed to work and earn some money. Paid work is one of the rights and duties of a convicted inmate and a right while the inmate is awaiting a final sentence. But it doesn t mean that because you work you do not have to co-operate in general maintenance activities. You may use up to 30% of your monthly salary (available money) 9

10 to buy authorised personal items, provided you have shown good behaviour. The full amount earned for your work, after statutory deductions, will constitute a reserve fund that will be given to you upon release. The salary you earn as a detainee shall not be less than 75% of the statutory minimum wage. If you have not been sentenced yet, you may use up to 80% of your salary and the remaining 20% will be kept as a reserve fund which will be given to you on release without a final conviction. The working system varies from one prison to another depending on their possibilities/financial situation. According to available information, there are more work possibilities at the Colonias Penales in the interior of the country than in the prisons located in Buenos Aires and surrounding areas. There is education available for illiterate detainee or for those who have not reached the minimum level of education established by law. You will also be encouraged to access other levels of education offered by the prison s Education Division. You will be awarded the relevant certificates and diplomas issued by official authorities, without any mention of the place where they were obtained. These certificates will enable you to continue your studies when you are released. You may also participate in recreational programmes, including sports, mainly team sports, and cultural activities. If you do not have the intellectual skills or physical conditions required, you may be exempted from participation in these activities. In the library, you will find the necessary material for training and recreation. Can I receive medical and dental treatment? Any prescribed diagnostic studies, medical treatment and medication will be supplied to you at no cost. You may also seek private health care, at your own cost. If you need medical or dental treatment you should make an appointment to see the prison doctor or dentist. In some large prisons it can be difficult to get an early appointment but if the situation is urgent you should contact the prison social worker, who may be able to get you an appointment more quickly than through the normal channels. Prison doctors are often the equivalent of GPs in the UK, so unusual or complex problems may be referred to a specialist outside the prison. All medical attention to detainees is provided by the Argentine equivalent of the UK National Health Service (NHS). As the system is relatively overwhelmed people can wait up to 2 months for a doctor s appointment. The transfer to a medical appointment outside prison will be handled by the prison authorities. There have been cases in the past were transfers were not available and appointments with doctors where missed. Food and Diet The prison authorities have assured us that the food they provide is a balanced diet supplying the necessary nutritional requirements. You can supplement your diet by buying fruit and other items 10

11 from the prison canteen when available, or from your family in compliance with the prison administration. Mail/Parcels There is usually no limit to the number of letters you may send (if you have paid the postage fee) or receive. Please be aware that the prison might read your letters before sending to the recipient. If you are told you are not allowed to receive letters in English, you should notify a Consular Officer and we will communicate with the Director of the prison. If the Embassy receives letters addressed to you, we will open them to check for prohibited items, and we will deliver them to you in our next consular visit. Consular officers will not read the contents. In some prisons it is easier to receive mail than to send it. You can hand your mail to a Consular Officer during a consular visit as long as the contents are checked with you first, and the proper postal fee is already paid. Our consular staff will reply to your written correspondence within our target of 20 working days (excluding postage time), but only if your correspondence is of what we consider to be a serious nature, e.g. if you have a serious health issue for which you need our help or if you have serious concerns for your safety. Please raise any issues with us during consular visits. If you would like your family in the UK or elsewhere to you, then please let them know that they may do so via our central box: Please ask them to entitle their with your full name together with the prison where you are detained. Messages from prisoners to their family and friends can only be sent if they can provide the Embassy/Consulate with an address. The messages will be forwarded to the families in 20 working days. Please be aware that the Embassy/Consulate will not forward letters from prisoners by post. You can receive parcels from your family. Please be aware that parcels should be sent directly to the prison; parcels sent to the Embassy/Consulate will not be forwarded to you. Parcels must have the name and details of the sender and the sender must be registered on the visitors list (Hall de Visita); otherwise the parcel will be refused. Can I make phone calls? According to Argentine law, prisoners can have access to public phones and you can make phone calls with your own telephone cards. Leisure and entertainment Prisons often have a library with books available for inmates; you can also be part of recreational and cultural activities. Also, you will have access to radio broadcasts and TV shows, in compliance with the activities schedule. Depending on the prison, you can have your own small TV set cassette player/radio. You can also have your own books to read. 11

12 Drugs It is widely known that drug trafficking between inmates in prisons is widespread. If you are caught with any kind of illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine, etc) you will be punished accordingly. As a result you may lose your job or school place and might be sent to confinement for a period. Tobacco cigarettes are allowed inside Argentine prisons. How can I make a complaint about mistreatment? If you wish to file a complaint please contact the Embassy/Consulate or let us know during the consular visit so that we take your concerns forward. You should also alert your lawyer if you would like to take legal action. The PROCUVIN is the government department that will take your formal complaint and will get involved in your case. THE ARGENTINE JUDICIAL SYSTEM The Embassy/Consulate cannot interfere with the Argentine Judicial system. We cannot ask for your case to be judged quickly, ask the authorities to waive any penalties, give or pay for legal advice, start legal proceedings on your behalf, investigate a crime or prevent the local authorities from deporting you at the end of your sentence, even if you were previously resident in the country. Neither can we collect your belongings and/or monies, which might have been confiscated at the time of detention. Is the system the same as the UK? You will be prosecuted by the prosecutor s office and if you can t afford a private attorney, the Argentine government will appoint a public defender for you. You will have a different public defender for each stage of the process. There will be three stages to your case: 1. Preliminary Search Your case is handled by a Judge ( Juzgado Penal Económico Federal or Juzgado Criminal y Correccional depending on the case). You are entitled to the assistance of a legal advisor from the time of arrest. A public attorney (at no cost to yourself) is appointed by the Argentine State unless you wish to appoint your own private lawyer. We recommend you appoint a penal specialist if you choose a private lawyer. This first stage is handled by the first Public Defender ( Defensor de Instrucción ). NOTE: Private lawyers are very expensive and cannot guarantee your release, but you are free to investigate this option. In the case of a private lawyer, you will have to cover all legal costs.. The Embassy cannot help you in this regard. If you wish to transfer funds from the United Kingdom to Argentina in order to cover legal costs, this transaction is to be processed through your commercial bank in the UK to the legal representatives. The Embassy cannot help you in this regard. You can be taken to court to be questioned several times during the 6-8 months (could be less) before the trial commences. 12

13 2. Oral Period Trial Your case is handled by an Oral Tribunal ( Tribunal Oral ). Once all the preliminary procedures are completed at the Judge s office ( Juzgado Penal Económico ), or any other, the case is forwarded to an Oral Tribunal. When the case physically leaves the Judge s office, a Tribunal is allocated by means of a draw. Your case will pass to that specific Oral Tribunal and therefore it will attend to your case. A date of trial will be set and a formal notification of the date of trial will be sent to you. In a shortened law suit ( juicio abreviado ), the average sentence for drug trafficking is usually 4 to 5 years. This means that you understand and accept willingly and under no pressure all the charges against you, declaring yourself guilty. If this is the case, you would not have an oral trial. If you wish to stand for the long oral hearing ( juicio oral ) declaring yourself innocent, the sentence can be longer if you are found guilty. The sentence you receive starts from the moment you are detained for the first time. After serving two thirds of your sentence, and depending on your good behaviour, you can be on parole ( libertad condicional ) until completing the total sentence in Argentina. If you are being assisted by a Public Defender you will probably get a new one at this stage. 3. Execution of sentence Once you have been sentenced, your case will pass to a third judge. Your case will now be handled by the Executive Court ( Juzgado de Ejecución ). If you are being assisted by a Public Defender you will probably get a new one at this stage. This stage covers the serving of your sentence and a possible eventual deportation/release. What should happen when I am arrested? When arrested you should be read all your rights and be informed that you may choose to remain silent (apart from giving your name and address) until you have spoken to your legal representative, after which the Judge will take your declaration (you will probably be taken to Court for this). You have the right to be assisted by an official translator for free. You can expect to spend at least 2 days at the Police Station once arrested, before being transferred to a prison. The Embassy should be informed immediately after the detention; however, we are usually informed of your arrest once you have arrived at Court where the judge will take your declaration. The detainee has the right to ask for their diplomatic representative. The Embassy cannot become involved in the legal aspect of your incarceration and cannot assume the role of a legal advisor. This task is reserved for your attorney. Should you not wish legal representation then the choice and consequences are solely yours. We aim to contact you within the first 24 hours of being notified of your detention, and to visit you within the next 48 hours. 13

14 What happens when I am charged? The courts will inform you, your lawyer/public defender and the prison authorities of your charges. If you do not have a private lawyer you will be assisted by a public defender who will put forward requests for benefits such as bail, etc. How long can I be remanded in custody? Depending on the crime committed and on the circumstances of detention, you might be incarcerated as soon as the judge takes your declaration the first time. You should ask your lawyer about the possibility of requesting your release while the legal process is in progress, but note that this may not always be granted. Hearings usually take place 24 hours from the date of arrest although in some cases it can be up to 48 hours. Normally the judge will hear the accused and the witnesses. If you are still in detention after 48 hours and the hearing has not taken place, we strongly suggest that you contact your lawyer immediately if you have not yet done so. The time spent in prison prior to your sentence will count as part of the total sentence to be served. What provision is there for bail? According to local law, bail will not be granted in cases related to drug trafficking. If you are charged on a different crime, your attorney/public defender will be best placed to advice on this matter. What kind of legal assistance is there? You are entitled to the assistance of a legal advisor from the time of arrest. A public attorney (at no cost to yourself) is appointed by the Argentine State unless you wish to appoint your own private lawyer. We recommend you to appoint a penal specialist if you choose a private lawyer. Please note that private lawyers are very expensive and cannot guarantee your release, but you are free to investigate this option. In the case of a private attorney, all legal costs incurred are for your own account and neither the Embassy nor the British government will bear this expense. If you wish to transfer funds from the United Kingdom to Argentina in order to cover legal costs, this transaction is to be processed through your commercial bank in the UK to the legal representatives. The Embassy cannot help you in this regard, but a list of English-speaking lawyers will be given to you by a Consular officer. What happens at the trial? On your trial day you will be taken to the court office where your case is being handled. There will be a Tribunal in charge of your case along with the public prosecutor and your attorney or public defender. If you don t speak Spanish the court will be responsible for hiring an interpreter to assist you during the trial. Sentences Sentences in Argentina differ and will depend on the seriousness of the crime. The courts will inform you, your lawyer/public defender and the prison authorities of your sentence and appeals processes. As already mentioned, the time spent in prison prior to your sentence will count as part of the total sentence to be served. 14

15 How can appeals be made? You have the right to appeal against your sentence through your attorney or public defender. It is usual for the public defender to appeal against your first sentence; however, the appeal process is usually very slow and can sometimes lead to the appellant's release being delayed until the appeal is decided. In such cases an attorney's opinion of the case is strongly recommended before proceeding. What provision is there for reduction of sentence (remission) e.g. for good behaviour? The Act regulates the Educational stimuli programme which helps prisoners reduce the satisfied terms needed to access the different levels of benefits (please see the section below) whenever they reach a certain level of education. These levels may include primary, secondary, university, postgraduate degrees among others. You should consult your lawyer about the reduction offered for each educational level. What provision is there for early release e.g. on parole? The benefits system in Argentina is similar to parole in the UK. The advantage of being released on benefit is that you would be outside of the prison, for at least some of the time, until you have served the remainder of your sentence. This might seem much better than spending the rest of your sentence in prison. However, while the benefits system usually works quite well for Argentine prisoners, being released on benefit can be really difficult for foreigners. If you are told that you can apply for benefit, it is up to you whether you decide to do so - we can't advise you either way. However, there are some important issues that you should consider. Firstly, bear in mind that you will only be entitled to benefits after you have spent half of your sentence. Secondly, be aware that if you opt to be expelled from the country then you will not be allowed to be released on benefit. Prisoners can apply for four different levels of 'benefits' according to how much of their sentence they have served (see box below). Please note that the British Embassy cannot ask the Argentine authorities to offer you benefits. This is something that you should raise with your lawyer. The four levels of benefits 1. Destacamento de Trabajo (work benefit): you work outside the prison during the day and go back to the prison at night. However in some penal complexes you will be allowed to work inside the prison and earn a small income (that you can choose to collect after or during your detention) 2. Regimen Abierto/ Destino a Establecimiento Abierto (open prison): you live in a community centre belonging to the Argentine authorities. You must work nearby and comply with the rules of the centre. 3. Confinamiento (confinement): a prisoner who has served three quarters of their sentence and has a record of good conduct can live outside the prison in a determined place. You must comply with rules established by the court. 15

16 4. Libertad Condicional (parole): this benefit is granted for the final period of the sentence. You leave the prison and are supervised by a probation officer for a period equal to the remaining sentence. Very few British prisoners have chosen to be released on parole. But you might like to consider this option if you are planning to live in Argentina after your detention. Before deciding whether to apply, you should be aware that, if released on parole: You will probably not be able to work. You will not get money from Prisoners Abroad. The British government will not be able to give you financial support. Consular staff from the British Embassy will not be able to pass on prison comforts (e.g. money that your family has sent to you). Consular staff from the British Embassy will no longer be able to visit you. You will not get your passport back from the Argentine authorities, so you will not be able to leave the country. So You might be stuck in Argentina with no source of income. You might become destitute if you are unable to support yourself. You might also feel really isolated if you do not know anyone, and you might not able to communicate with people very well if you do not speak Spanish fluently. If you do apply for benefits, and you expect to get support from family or friends, you could warn them about the extra expense and ask them to save money in advance. What provision is there for clemency or pardon? Ask your lawyer for detailed information on how the political authorities in Argentina can give pardon/clemency to people found guilty of committing a crime. What about any financial penalties? There are different types of penalties in Argentine Criminal law. Depending on the crime committed, you might be forced to face a financial penalty decided by the Judge. Is transfer to another prison within Argentina possible? If you have been tried and convicted you will probably be sent to a prison outside Buenos Aires ( Colonia Penitenciaria ) where you can expect to serve your sentence. Other transfer requests are most likely to be permitted when there are exceptional and compassionate reasons for doing so. Is transfer to the UK a possibility? There is no Prisoner Transfer Agreement between the UK and Argentina. We have been negotiating the Prisoners Transfer Agreement between Argentina and the United Kingdom for several years, but no formal agreement exists at the time of this writing. 16

17 What are the procedures for release and deportation? In Argentina a prisoner is expected to serve the whole sentence in country as instructed by the court. Depending on the crime committed and the punishment received restrictions may apply to your mobility. However, local regulations admit that foreigners can be deported from the country as from the moment they have served half of their sentence, upon the Judge s authorisation (called extraneamiento ). The Immigration Act states in provision no. 64, subsection A, that all foreign detainees that are released upon deportation will return to their country of origin or residence and the criminal case against them will be closed. This means the deportation will act as the formal end of the sentence. A foreign detainee will only be eligible for deportation as from the moment the half of his sentence has elapsed. Foreigners who are deported are subject to a life ban on re-entry. To start the procedure, you or your lawyer can write a letter to the judge stating your wish to be expelled. Once the judge has all the information he will ask the defender and prosecutor to give their views on the case. When the decision is taken and it is positive, the judge will inform the National Immigration Department to start making the arrangements for expulsion. There are 2 steps involving the expulsion process for deportation: 1. The judicial step where the judge signs/authorises the expulsion and forwards the case to the National Immigration Department. 2. The administrative step that corresponds to the National Immigration Department who will liaise with the airline and inform your lawyer and your Consulate of your date of departure. You cannot expect to be deported on the exact date that you reach half of your sentence. This will depend on flight availability. The detainee s transfer from Argentina to the country of origin or residence is considered as a public burden so the airline that has regular flights to the country of expulsion has to cover all the costs incurred in the trip. This means you will not have to pay for your departure ticket when you are expelled for deportation. The Argentine authorities and the airline will take care of the costs for you. If you choose not to be deported you will be expected to serve the whole of your sentence, and once released you will have to face the costs of your departure flight whenever you decide to leave the country. PRISONERS ABROAD Since 1978 the charity Prisoners Abroad has offered practical support and advice to British citizens imprisoned overseas. It is the only UK charity providing this service and it is available to all, whether guilty or innocent, convicted or on remand. Prisoners Abroad is concerned with your health and welfare, both during your imprisonment and also on your return to the UK, through their resettlement service (if you have registered whilst in prison). They can also provide support and advice to your family during your imprisonment. In order to access any services, prisoners must first register with Prisoners Abroad by signing and returning their authorisation form. Once you seek help from Prisoners Abroad, the Prisoner & Family Support Service will be your point of contact for advice and information. The type of assistance they can offer will vary from country to country, but generally they can provide you with information, in English, on: 17

18 your rights as a prisoner and issues that may affect you such as health or transfer to the UK obtaining magazines, newspapers, books and the regular Prisoners Abroad newsletter writing to a pen pal learning the language of your country of imprisonment translation of documents grants for food if you are in a developing country and don t have funds from other sources grants for essential medicines and toiletries if you don t have funds from other sources preparing for release help for your loved ones, including information, family support groups and assistance with the cost of visiting Prisoners Abroad Fonthill Road London N4 3JH UK Telephone: (0) or, for your relatives in the UK, Freephone (Mondays to Fridays 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, UK time) Website: TRANSLATION OF USEFUL TERMS Basics My name is I am (E.g. I am English) The A It I/We/Me What/Which Left Right Here There What day does the I cannot Hello Good afternoon Good evening Good night How are you? Fine thanks and you? Excuse me Me llamo Soy El/La/Los/Las Un/Una/Unos/Unas Lo/la/le Yo/Nosotros/Yo Qué/Cuál Izquierda Derecha Aquí Ahí Qué día? No puedo Hola Buenas tardes Buenas tardes Buenas noches Cómo estás? Bien gracias, y tú? Perdone 18

19 See you later Yes No Please Thank you I don t know Could you repeat that more slowly? I don t understand I do not speak Spanish very well I am sorry to bother you but May I borrow your How can I obtain? Is there any mail for me? How much does this cost? Do you mind if I open the window? Do you mind if I smoke? Could you kindly write that down for me? Do you have the correct time? What is your nationality? Hasta luego Sí No Por favor Gracias No sé Puedes repetir más despacio? No entiendo No hablo muy bien español Siento molestarte pero. Me prestas tu? Cómo puedo obtener? Hay correo para mí? Cuánto cuesta esto? Te importa si abro la ventana? Te importa si fumo? Podrías escribir eso para mí por favor? Tienes la hora correcta? Cuál es tu nacionalidad? Useful phrases/vocabulary The telephone is out of order I do not have any means to buy I would like to order This is urgent May I make an appointment to see I need to see my lawyer Can I have a list of local English-speaking lawyers? Who is dealing with my case? Does the prison have a list of translators? Can I get bail? Can you tell me how long I will be held in police custody before I get transferred to a prison? What must I do to get transferred to another prison? Can you tell me how long my sentence is? Can you tell me the date my sentence finishes? Can I move to Mr.. s cell as he speaks English? Can Mr move into this cell? I am very cold; can I have an extra blanket please? When is the shop open? How much money do I have in my account? What day does the doctor come? What time? Is there any work that I can do? I would like to work in the Can you show me what I must do? Could I buy a Spanish/English dictionary? Can you contact the Consul for me? I want to make a complaint Can I have permission for my family to send me.? El teléfono no funciona No me puedo permitir comprar Me gustaría pedir Esto es urgente Podría fijar una cita con? Necesito ver a mi abogado Me das una lista de abogados que hablen ingles? Quién está a cargo de mi caso? Hay una lista de traductores en la prisión? Puedo pedir la libertad bajo fianza? Me podrías decir cuánto tiempo estaré detenido antes de ser transferido a una prisión? Qué debo hacer para ser transferido a otra prisión? Me podrías decir cuánto tiempo durará mi sentencia? Me podrías decir la fecha en que mi sentencia terminará? Me puedo cambiar a la celda del Sr., ya que habla inglés? Puede el Sr cambiarse a esta celda? Tengo mucho frío, me das otra manta por favor? Cuándo abre la tienda? Cuánto dinero tengo en mi cuenta? Qué día viene el médico? A qué hora? Hay algún trabajo que puedo hacer? Me gustaría trabajar en el/la. Me puedes enseñar lo qué debo hacer? Podría comprar un diccionario de inglés/español? Puedes contactar el cónsul para mí? Quiero poner una queja Me gustaría pedir permiso para que mi familia me envíe 19

20 As I am not allowed visits, could I have a parcel of clothes sent to the prison? Are there any items which they are not permitted to send me? I want to send this letter to Why are my letters taking so long to get to my family? I have not heard from my family and I am worried about them How do I arrange a visit for my family? Can you confirm that my family has booked a visit for (a specific date)? May I have an extended visit as I do not get many and my family has to travel a long way? Could I go to the prison school to learn Spanish? Could you give this letter to Mr cell no. so he can translate it for me? Como no tengo permitido ninguna visita, se me podría enviar un paquete de ropa a la prisión? Hay algo que no pueden enviarme? Quiero enviar esta carta a Por qué mis cartas tardan tanto en llegar a mi familia? No sé nada de mi familia y estoy preocupado/a por ellos Qué tengo que hacer para arreglar una visita de mi familia? Podrías confirmar qué día ha reservado mi familia para visitarme? Podría pedir una visita más larga ya que no recibo muchas visitas y mi familia tiene que viajar de lejos? Podría ir a las clases de la prisión para aprender español Podrías darle esta carta al Sr. celda número para que la traduzca para mí? Time/days/numbers Today Tomorrow Morning Afternoon Night Next week Next month Next year Last week Last month Last year Weekend Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday January February March April May June July August September October November December Spring Summer Autumn Winter Christmas Hoy Mañana Mañana Tarde Noche La próxima semana El próximo mes El próximo año La semana pasada El mes pasado El año pasado Fin de semana Lunes Martes Miércoles Jueves Viernes Sábado Domingo Enero Febrero Marzo Abril Mayo Junio Julio Agosto Septiembre Octubre Noviembre Diciembre Primavera Verano Otoño Invierno Navidad 20

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