Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

U.S. Prisoner in Thailand Needs Info

I was arrested in June of 199l and charged with possession of narcotics and intent to export. The drugs weighed slightly more than five kilos. I was given "legal counsel" - I think. I was told by a man who spoke very little English, "Plead guilty. If not plead guilty I guarantee you get death sentence."  I never saw the man again.

Apparently, I was tried by "due process." I was taken to a room where three men were sitting behind a desk. They literally screamed at me in Thai, which I did not understand. I was then taken downstairs and placed in a cell by myself. One of the guards told me I had received a life sentence.

Does the U. S. government recognize or acknowledge a sentence or verdict handed down by a tribunal, in effect a court martial? Thailand was under martial law at the time of my arrest. As a first offender, what length of sentence would I have received under U.S. law?  I would like to know both the maximum and minimum sentences and the time I could reasonably expect to send in the U.S.

What is the usual or average length of time that U.S. citizens convicted abroad stay in the arresting country? Are there any special considerations concerning parole or specific conditions concerning the act of transfer to the U. S. ? We have been told several things concerning the transfer itself. The disturbing part is that we must waive the right to a re-trial, and if we do not waive this right we will not be transferred. Why must we waive any rights at all in order to return to our own country?

We are told by the State Department that one year here is equal to four years in the U.S., yet I have also heard that the Department of Justice considers the time served at a ratio of l :6. Can this be clarified by written reference?

Would you please pass on my name and address? Im sure you probably know, mail (indeed any contact with the outside)  is vital to our survival and rehabilitation. If possible, could you send several sets of any information or answers you mail to me. There are 14 Americans in this prison (70 in Thailand) and we are divided among six buildings. We are all concerned with these issues, but nobody seems to be able to get any straight answers.

William A. Lindahl
Bangkwang Maximum Security Prison
Building 3
Nonthaburi, ll000,  Thailand

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login