Source: Scotsman (UK)
Copyright: The Scotsman Publications Ltd
Pubdate: Tue, 1 Dec 1998


SIR, - Our daughter, Sandra Gregory, was an adventurous free spirit with a
love of animals and concern for the underprivileged. She lived for three
years in Thailand taking several teaching jobs, including one with UNICEF.

While seriously ill (25 per cent underweight), she foolishly agreed to
carry 90 grams of heroin from Bangkok to Tokyo. Following a tip-off from
the British Embassy that her travelling companion was carrying drugs she
was arrested in February 1995. She accepted her guilt and the correctness
of the trial. Since being in prison, the 25-year sentence has been reduced
to 22 years by general amnesty granted by the King of Thailand.

The first two years of her sentence were in the overcrowded Klong Prem
prison, but she was transferred to the British penal system in 1997, in
accordance with a Thai law irrespective of any mitigating factors. When
this minimum is unjust, the remedy is through an appeal to the King of
Thailand for a Royal Pardon.

Sandra's appeal has been submitted by her lawyer, who advises that the
chances of a successful outcome will be greatly enhanced if the British
Government were to support it. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has
refused support as it does not feel there are sufficient grounds for
humanitarian or compassionate action.

To those among your readers who will applaud this view, we point out that
the purpose of imprisonment is to protect society and punish law-breakers.
Sandra has been a fool to herself, but has never been a threat to society
and the punishment she has already taken is considerably more than is given
to murderers!

The injustice of the situation is having a disturbing effect on her mental
state with bouts of deep de-pression. Transfers within the British prison
system are delaying treatment for a back injury (caused by completing a
sponsored triathlon for charity). Transfers have also disrupted her
computer and OU courses.

The Government intervened on behalf of the "Saudi nurses", Parry and
McLauchlan, who were convicted of murder; that intervention led to pardons.
The Government found the means of releasing convicted Irish terrorists, but
it de-clines to help a first but foolish offender who has already been
punished most severely when all that is required is a letter to the King of


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Checked-by: Joel W. Johnson