Upon release from prison abroad, most people usually expect to walk free, and maybe return to their home countries. However, some foreign nationals in Peru find this is not the case, having to wait long durations before being permitted to leave the country with little support.

A recent DW article tells the story of Italian-born Davide Cannavo, who was released from Ancón prison in Peru in March, but got caught in a complicated bureaucratic system and has still not been able to return home. There is a lengthy and expensive process required for foreign ex-convicts to obtain the necessary expulsion paperwork, which must be approved by official agencies and paid for. For foreigners who don’t speak Spanish or understand the process, and who are not allowed to work while awaiting expulsion, life after prison can be extremely hard. Cannavo has been staying with family friends in a poor and crime-ridden part of San Juan de Lurigancho, but he is lucky; many ex-prisoners in Peru leave with drug addictions and no roof over their heads, forced to turn to crime once more just to survive.

Prisoners Abroad has had contact with several ex-prisoners faced with distressing situations such as Cannavo’s. In these situations, we liaise with the British Embassy to ensure those affected are supported to get through the system and return to the UK at the earliest opportunity.