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In the late 1970s, author Warren Fellows and two of his friends had the perfect scheme: they would traffic heroin between Australia and Thailand, concealing it flawlessly in high-tech, invisible compartments in suitcases. The money was there, and the process seemed foolproof--especially because they hadn't gotten caught in all their prior attempts at smuggling. But in 1978, all that would change, and Fellows would spend the next twelve years of his life enduring violations of his human rights of unimaginable hideousness.
Fellows, convicted in Thailand, spent these twelve years in Bangkok's infamous Bang Kwang prison, witnessing atrocities committed by both prison officials and his fellow inmates. He survived countless torturous beatings, was forced to eat rats, and endured solitary confinement under terrifyingly inhumane conditions. On a daily basis, Fellows also witnessed the torture and execution of those around him, their screams as common as the insects and vermin in his cell. Many of the prisoners in Bang Kwang turned to heroin--the vice that landed Fellows there in the first place--to escape their daily nightmares, and the prison guards often helped feed this deadly addiction.
Fellows, now a free man, has lived to write about these twelve ghastly years. He has captured the filth, pain, anger, hopelessness, and torture of life in a Thai prison with vivid, engrossing detail and brutal honesty.
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Warren Fellows is now forty-four years old and has been a free man since his return from Thailand in 1989. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his mother.
Survivors' tales are almost always dramatic, and Fellows's, though often stalled in mediocre writing, is no different. In 1978, at the age of 25, the Australian was convicted for heroin trafficking between his country and Thailand. Sentenced to serve the rest of his life in prison, Fellows spent 12 years in Thai prisons, each one more atrocious than the next. He recounts in stomach-wrenching detail how the Thai guards forced him to crawl through a pool of sewage, and how he routinely watched such horrors as guards caning prisoners to death. He also tells of how he turned to heroin, partly to alleviate his loneliness and desperation, and of how guards turned a blind eye to the infraction. While Fellows's account isn't nearly as riveting as Billy Hayes's Midnight Express and suffers from jumbled passages and poor structure, it proves compelling and certainly buttresses his point that "there is nothing more precious than a free life." Fellows argues?strongly?that no crime warrants the dehumanizing punishment to which he was subjected.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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