Australian woman Jodi Magi has been released from jailed in the UAE after she was arrested for posting a photo on Facebook which was deemed offensive by the Abu Dhabi government.
Today she announced that she was deported to Laos where she will take some time to “decompress” from the experience.
“After 53 hours in custody, having been shackled at the ankles, strip-searched, blood tested, forced to sleep on a concrete floor without a mattress or pillow and having no access to toilet paper or eating utensils, I can happily say I AM SAFE & OUT OF JAIL AND ABU DHABI!” she wrote on Facebook.
While the imprisonment has been labelled by many, including Australian federal treasurer Joe Hockey, as an “extraordinary reaction”, at least 1000 Aussies are jailed every year around the world according to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade records.
Following Magi’s arrest, Business Insider found a website created by the Australian government on how to adapt to life in prison, should you find yourself incarcerated abroad.
“There are often a number of things that you can do to help yourself while in prison overseas,” the advice says.
“Even though conditions in some prisons may be difficult, you should try to adapt and find activities, like sport or regular exercise, or employment to keep yourself active and occupied.
“Prison conditions and management vary from country to country and prison to prison, so you may need to learn new rules and routines to adjust to the prison environment.”
The website says you may wish to ask prison authorities for advice on:
- Whether there is an opportunity for you to learn the local language (if you’re imprisoned in a country where English is not widely spoken)
- How many letters you’re allowed to send. Sometimes remand prisoners can send more letters which will give you a greater opportunity to get your personal affairs in order
- If and how often you’re able to make telephone calls
- If there’s an opportunity to undertake study, or if you’re permitted to arrange to study through an external educational institution
- If any activities within the prison can contribute to a sentence reduction
- If it’s possible to work inside the prison, whether working is compulsory, and whether this work will provide you with an income.
“If you have difficulties communicating with the prison authorities, or arranging activities, you should discuss your options with a consular officer,” the site says.
At the top of the page it says when Australians travel abroad, they leave behind Australia’s support systems, emergency service capabilities and medical facilities.
“The Australian Government will do what it can to help prisoners and their families as much as possible within the local and international legal framework. There may be limitations to what can be done and you should have realistic expectations about this. It is recommended that you read the Consular Services Charter, available at smartraveller.gov.au. You can ask a consular officer to provide you with a copy.”
The Australian government’s response to Magi’s case left her questioning the influence Australia holds in the UAE.
Before her release she told Fairfax Media that the local Australian embassy had provided no assistance to her, other than recommend she get a lawyer.
Today, in her Facebook post announcing her release, she again reflected on the support she had received from local officials during her time in prison.
“I would never have been released in such a speedy fashion without a) my Australian nationality, b) the media coverage (surreal), c) the belated efforts of the embassy and d) all of the support from my friends as well as people I have never even me,” she wrote.
Read her full Facebook post here.
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