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Robert Langdon

In 1989 Robert Langdon joined the Australian Army where he served for 15 years before transferring to the Army Reserves. He served as a Section Commander in the Solomon Islands (1999) and in East Timor (2000). Robert was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with East Timor clasp, the Infantry Combat Badge and the United Nations Medal for his service overseas.

Since 2004 he has been engaged as a private security contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan and has worked with the US Army, civilian contractors and in medical evacuations.

In 2008, Robert was employed in Afghanistan by the U.S. company, The Four Horsemen International. His job was to supervise security operations for the company on such tasks as guarding food and supply convoys, and medical relief expeditions.

The Incident

In June 2009, Robert was sent out to assist a convoy which had recently been attacked by the Taliban. He became involved in an incident with a fellow Afghan security contractor. Robert was concerned because his Afghan colleague wished to keep the convoy stationery in an isolated area at night, an action which Robert considered dangerous. When Robert approached his Afghan colleague to discuss the matter, his colleague drew his gun on him and Robert shot him in self defence. At all times, Robert believed he was about to be killed and has maintained that he only fired in self defence.

Sentencing and Court Proceedings

Robert was arrested and charged with murder and was brought before an Afghan court. The first court hearing was very brief. Robert understood this only to be a discussion about the matter. Two weeks later, on the 27 October 2009, he was brought back before the courts and in under two minutes, with no discussion of the statements, no witnesses being called and not being asked to give evidence, Robert was sentenced to death.

Under Islamic law, there is a requirement that compensation be paid to the family. Robert’s family in South Australia were able to raise sufficient funds to make a significant contribution to the family. These funds were handed over to the family in what is called the ‘Ibra hearing’ in early June, 2010 . His case was referred back to the Supreme Court of Afghanistan for further consideration.

Robert is serving a 20 year sentence and is hoping to be repatriated to Australia where he can be closer to family. His situation is dire. He gets very little food, limited DFAT Consular access given the prison is beyond the 'Green Zone', and receives daily death threats from Taliban prisoners seeking retribution.

 Video Link to ABC Story -


How you can Help

steve
Robert is represented by Stephen Kenny, an Adelaide Lawyer and Director of Camatta Lempens. Mr Kenny has been working with the family, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Foreign Prisoner Support Service and other parties in Afghanistan at the request of Mr. Robert Langdon.

Contact Stephen Kenny with all offers of support. Click here

If you are concerned by Robert's plight, the lack of a a fair trial in Afghanistan and the ongoing delays in his prisoner transfer to Australia, it would help if you could write respectfully to:

Your Federal Member of Parliament Click Here
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Bob Carr Click here

Transcript of ABC Interview with Family and Lawyer Stephen Kenny. Click here


 

Sample Letter to Australian Government

Tips:

Keep your letter short by raising only one or two key issues. Ask a question on those issues that require a personal response.If you are emailing your letter, write it in a word program and attach it as a document to the email rather than place it in the body of the email. Many electorate offices do not reply to emails as they are often not considered official communications.

Do not make speeches or offer opinions. Most politicians will evade a direct answer to your questions by telling you they have forwarded your letter to the Minister or Shadow Minister. Make sure you ask them to respond to the questions as your local representative.


Dear (Insert name of your Federal MP),


I am writing in support of a former Australian Veteran Robert Langdon, an Australian citizen and former ADF member currently detained in Afghanistan and represented by Australian Lawyer - Mr. Stephen Kenny of Camatta Lempens (Adelaide). 

I understand that Mr. Langdon is serving a 20 year sentence in a Kabul Prison. I am deeply concerned for Mr. Langdon's continued well being, his mental health condition (PTSD), and the financial and emotional burden his continued detainment in Afghanistan places on his family. In particular, I am gravely concerned for Mr. Langdon's situation beyond the 2014 withdrawal of troops deadline. I feel it would be most responsible if the Australian Government acted now to seek his repatriation (as is a US Government practice whenever their citizens face legal dispute in Afghanistan), as opposed to later, when his circumstances might become more tenable. 
In recent years the Afghan government has allowed foreign security contractors accused of crimes to be dealt with in their home country.

I would be grateful if you could do whatever is in your power to expedite the current repatriation request, as put to your department by Mr. Stephen Kenny in accordance with the International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997.


Respectfully,


(Your Name)

(Your Address)

(Date)

*You must provide a return address if you wish to receive a response. 

(Contact Details)


International Transfer of Prisoners Act 1997 Read more here

Benefits of the International Transfer of Prisoners Scheme

The scheme aims to:

  • improve prisoners' prospects for rehabilitation by removing language and cultural barriers, allowing access to custodial programs and facilitating contact with family and social support networks
  • promote reintegration into society by allowing prisoners to be released on supervised parole - in the absence of transfer, foreign nationals are usually removed under migration laws immediately upon release from prison, without receiving the benefit of any parole supervision or reintegration into the community
  • protect the community through the effective management and monitoring of prisoners transferred back to Australia
  • allow prisoners' convictions to be recorded by the relevant authorities in their home country
  • meet public expectations that the Australian Government will enable Australians imprisoned overseas to apply to return home to serve out their sentences
  • meet the expectations of foreign governments that their citizens will be able to apply to transfer home to serve out their sentence
  • reduce the costs of providing consular services to Australians imprisoned overseas and reduce the cost to Australian state and territory governments of housing foreign prisoners.

Afghanistan is yet to sign on to the ITPS but that is not to say that Government to Government negotiations cannot make an independent bi-lateral agreement.

FREEDOM IS A RIGHT OF ALL HUMAN BEINGS IN A WORLD WHERE LIFE IS VALUED AND PEACE MAY FINALLY BE A POSSIBILITY
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