SA man freed from US jail re-arrested

2012-03-20 08:07
Johannesburg - A South African man released in January after 15 years in a US prison was re-arrested last week on immigration charges, The Star reported on Tuesday.

"He was thrown back into prison because his visa had expired in 1997," said Patricia Gerber, director of Locked UP, a human rights organisation for prisoners overseas.

Azikiwe "Azi" Kambule was pardoned in the US after spending 15 years in jail for hijacking and being an accessory to murder.

He was released in the US state of Mississippi, but was re-arrested and jailed in Louisiana last week.

"I'm in contact with his mother and father, who were expecting him to be released and flown back last week," Gerber was quoted saying.

"It looks like someone is trying to stop his return to SA. Common sense would tell you he doesn't have a visa if he was in prison for that length of time."

In 1986 Kambule, then 18, was tried as an adult and received a 35-year-jail sentence. He is now 33.

The Soweto man was one of 200 inmates pardoned by former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour before leaving office in January this year.

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