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.
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
Your Federal Member of Parliament Click Here
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:
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
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.
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.
*You must provide a return address if you wish to receive a response.
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
- 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.