An American prisoner who has been held for two years without sentence in prison in Bolivia has claimed that 90 per cent of the people in the National Jail in La Paz are being detained without sentence and that some of them have been in this situation for six years.
SV PAN: Panoptico De San Pedro Prison in La Paz.
SV: clock ZOOM OUT TO GV side of prison.
SV: Louis Hepburn speaking in English.
SV: people walking in and out of prison grounds. (3 shots)
SV: Hepburn speaking
CU: door to Hepburn's cell
SV: Hepburn's cell (3 shots)
SV: Hepburn continue speaking.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: HEPBURN: "My name is Louis Hepburn and I'm from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. I came to Bolivia to live and I was living her for eight months, then I found myself arrested and involved in an 18-man cocaine raid and I was charged with being the capo of Bolivia. So far I've been in this place -- the Panoptico Nacional de San Pedro -- for two years and seven days and I have not yet received a sentence. I'm doing this interview alone because nobody else wants to face the camera and that is because whatever I say now and whatever they say might bounce back on them in here. Its a pretty weird prison. In many ways there's a lot of liberty there's a lot of individual freedom -- you can go where you want -- we have restaurants here and yet the worst thing is that I've here two years and I have no sentence and I don't know I'll be sentenced this year. So no there's a transfer treaty agreed upon by the United States and Bolivia and in order to be transferred back to my own country, where there's some semblance of justice, you have to have a sentence and I'm not victim of a sentence right now. I remember I read a book in here about Dr Victor Franco, who wrote a book called "Man's Search for Meaning" and he went through Auschwitz during the Second World War -- he was a Jewish psychiatrist -- and he said of all the tortures you can have -- beatings or physical -- starvation -- the worst thing of all is not knowing when you're going to get out, because you have no date you can say I can hold on for a half a year, I can wait for six months -- I can hold out. I don't have that, no-body here has that, 90 per cent of the people in this prison don't have that -- they don't have a sentence. And I'm lucky, I don't have a sentence and I've only ??? here six years have no sentence. So the treaty's great, but its meaningless to me until I get out -- until I get sentenced. I went for ten months without even going to court. Its a long time. Nobody in here has a calender to mark off the days -- cross of o
ne day, one day less, because you don't know when you're leaving here -- you're here -- and ah -- welcome to Bolivia."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: An American prisoner who has been held for two years without sentence in prison in Bolivia has claimed that 90 per cent of the people in the National Jail in La Paz are being detained without sentence and that some of them have been in this situation for six years. The American, Louis Hepburn, was the only prisoner who agreed to discuss his plight with Visnews correspondent Daniel Bauer.
SYNOPSIS: Others refused to talk believing the publicity could interfere with their eventual trial.