Beetge faces hard time if paroled

2013-11-16 00:00

AN interview on SABC3 show Special Assignment, to be broadcast tomorrow, is expected to reveal that Margate drug mule Tessa Beetge may be paroled soon.

Beetge was sentenced to eight years in prison for carrying drugs and is serving her sentence in Brazil.

If paroled, she will have to spend three years in Brazil without any means of earning a living and without family or friends for support.

Beetge’s mother, Marie Swanepoel, had campaigned for her daughter’s early release and also fought for the imprisonment of the two people who recruited her daughter as a drug mule.

Sheryl Cwele and Nigerian Frank Nabolisa were convicted of dealing in cocaine in 2011 and are serving 12-year sentences for their role in the matter.

Swanepoel died in October this year without seeing her daughter free.

Margie Olsen, Tessa’s aunt, has now taken up the fight on behalf of her sister.

Olsen said: “I chatted to Special Assignment producer Frank Ferro, and he said the programme will be eye-opening and will change the way we plan things. So I am anxious to see what Tessa said.”

The Special Assignment team was given an hour to speak to Beetge at the Sao Paulo female prison.

Ferro said: “The fact that she was caught with such a large quantity of drugs has made her life difficult.

“Considering the really bad prison conditions, Tessa is doing well. She has put on a lot of weight. She attributes it to stress.”

South Africa does not have a prison transfer agreement for prisoners to be repatriated so they can serve time in their own country.

Ferro said that Beetge was terrified of ending up penniless on the streets of Brazil.

“She wants to serve her time in jail.

“She prefers it to being sent on to the streets of a foreign country with no money, friends or family.”

Olsen said: “It will be devastating for her if she is released there with no way to get back home. She has absolutely no way of earning money and no support system.”

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