Backpacking in the News

Link to article: Parents’ plea to Miliband over jailed backpacker


British backpacker Patrick Malluzzo has been jailed in India since 2004, when, in what Fair Trials International calls  “a travesty of justice,” he was convicted of smuggling drugs.

Malluzzo’s parents recently met with U.K. Foreign Office offials, asking for help from Foreign Secretary David Miliband in securing a him new trial in Indian courts.

Apparently, while backpacking in India in 2004, Malluzzo gave his bag to a friend, who was travelling from Rajasthan to Goa, so he could travel light. “The friend accidentally left three bags, including Mr. Malluzo’s luggage, on a train,” wrote the BBC. “They were found to contain about 42 lbs. (19 kg) of cannabis resin.

“He has maintained his innocence but claims he confessed after police burned him with cigarettes, beat him and subjected him to sleep deprivation.

“The prosecution at the trial, which was conducted only in Hindi, decided not to use the confessions.”

Malluzzo’s predicament is yet another cautionary tale of backpackers caught smuggling drugs, similar to those revealed in the late-90s films Return to Paradise and Brokedown Palace. As did the “wrongfully” jailed culprits in these movies, Malluzo violated two known commandments in the backpacker credo:

  1. Thou shalt not trust everybody.
  2. Thou shalt not take your eyes off your shit (wallet, moneybelt, passport, luggage).

Dec. 15 – Related news: Young Australian backpackers becoming drug mules, bringing drugs home

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One Response to “Backpacking in the News”

  1. mike says:

    Good to have people fighting for you for a fair trial. There’s also the strong possibility he did it. I remember a Canadian English Teacher in Taipei who was selling English textbooks online mailed in from Vancouver, which happened to have spaces cut in the books to hold cocaine. Even though you sign a slip when arriving in Taiwan that says smuggling drugs is punishable by death, he did it. When he got caught after months of investigations, the Canadian media backed him, claiming Taiwan had an incompetant justice system, etc. He went from a life sentence to 15 years I think. Had he been Nigerian, he would’ve gotten death.

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