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Committee action fast tracks return of Australian prisoners.

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Committee action fast tracks return of Australian prisoners 7 December 2006 The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties is pleased to release today its report on the Agreement signed between the Governments of Australia and Cambodia concerning the transfer of sentenced persons.

“The early tabling of the report gives the Australian government the ability to fast track the implementation of the agreement in order for requests for prisoner transfer back to Australia to occur much sooner

than would otherwise have been the case, said the Deputy Chair of the committee, Swan MHR, Kim Wilkie. The report recommends that binding treaty action being taken will give great relief to the families of those Australian citizens detained in Cambodian jails.”

Currently there are 5 Australian nationals in the Cambodian prison system and 13 Cambodian nationals in the Australian prison system for whom the agreement will also apply.

One of those Australians, Gordon Vuong, was only 16 when he was arrested and was sentenced to a 13 year jail term. Bringing prisoners like Gordon home to serve the rest of their sentences in Australia offers a greater opportunity for family support, education, training and ultimately rehabilitation. The sooner the agreement is confirmed, the better.

“I visited a Cambodian jail some years ago as part of a Parliamentary delegation and believe there is merit in bringing Australians sentenced to jail in Cambodia back to Australia where there is greater opportunities for rehabilitation for Australian citizens.”

“Because Australia may no longer have to pay for the incarceration of 13 prisoners under the agreement, transferring Cambodian prisoners in Australia back to Cambodia will also benefit our country,” Mr Wilkie said.

For further information contact Kim Wilkie on 0407 513 245.