UK Jail: Durban principal’s family have little news

2011-12-13 00:00

YESTERDAY’S execution has hit close to home for the family of Durbanite Anabella Momple, who is in a similar situation in London.

Said Momple’s brother, journalist Paddy Harper, “Today’s killing was a reminder of how scary this world really is, and the fact that we don’t know why exactly Anabelle is being detained makes it worse.”

Momple, the headmistress of Carrington Heights Primary School, will appear in court on December 20 when formal charges will be filed. She has not been asked to plead yet.

Momple apparently told her family that she had gone to Brazil and the UK on an Education Department trip, but then the family received a call to say that she had taken ill.

“We were subsequently called and told that she had been arrested at Heathrow Airport and taken to Bronzefield Prison on drug-related charges,” Harper said.

The family were told a legal aid lawyer has been appointed to represent her.

"It's a shocker. We don't know, we don't speculate and I don't know the circumstances. Right now we are at a loss," Harper told The Witness.

She is only allowed one phone call a week, which makes it difficult to follow developments.

Harper said that because his sister, who has dual nationality, was travelling on her Irish passport, the matter had not been brought to the attention of the SA of Foreign Affairs Department.

"My sister is a respected and committed educator. Speculation doesn't help. We are just waiting for the law to take its course so we can learn the facts. There is nothing more we can do," Harper said.

Patricia Gerber, director of the organisation Locked Up in a Foreign Prison, said yesterday she doesn't believe the government did everything possible to intervene on behalf of Janice Linden.

Gerber's son has been in prison in Mauritius for six years after being caught with drugs.

"Our ambassadors do so little for these people. The government could have done more. It was a life," she said.

She said her organisation knows of 18 people arrested for drugs in October and November in countries from Dubai to New Zealand.

Foreign Affairs said in March there are 619 South Africans in foreign prisons for drug smuggling.


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