Hunger strike trucker suffers appeal delay
Tuesday 24 December 1996
Unless the appeal is lodged in time for Ramadan, the Muslim fast and Moroccan "pardon" season which begins in February, Steve Bryant, who was jailed in Tangier on drugs charges, has no chance of a pardon for a further year.
Stephen Jakobi, of the organisation Fair Trials Abroad, said: "He's extremely concerned that he'll miss the deadline and be stuck there."
Bryant, from north-east London, ended his previous hunger strike last month after Moroccan authorities promised him a firm date for his final appeal within 45 days.
He is now embarked on a race against time to lodge it before Ramadan, although Mr Jakobi believes the Foreign Office is "dragging its feet", citing the example of Dutch truckers who were freed following intervention from their embassy.
Bryant's MP, Steven Norris, wrote to the British ambassador in Morocco earlier this month, urging him to add his voice to the drive for an appeal.
Mr Norris' letter states: "On 25 November at a meeting in the Moroccan embassy in London Mr Bryant's family were told that the only way Mr Bryant could be released was by a royal pardon on his behalf by members of his family and then forwarded by the Moroccan minister of justice," adding that the family was given similar advice by their MEP.
The 42-year-old father of four, who has always pleaded his innocence, is one of a growing number of lorry drivers convicted for drugs smuggling.
In March 1993, returning from his third trip to Morocco, Bryant was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after cannabis was found in his cargo of frozen squid. He is now two and a half years into his sentence with no possibility of an early release.
His case helped prompt a joint initiative between UK customs and the United Road Transport Union. The "Memorandum of Understanding" attempts to put drivers on a par with postmen, airline pilots and ships' captains in acknowledging that not all drivers are guilty when drugs are found in their charge.
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 3 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 4 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
- 5 How much sex should I be having?
Ed Miliband returns to the backbenches but it's all a bit awkward as he tries to avoid eye-contact with fellow Labour MPs
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
Isis tortures 14-year-old Syrian boy and films it in graphic video for 'propaganda purposes'
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...
£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...