By Anonymous

A mother shares her story of her son’s arrest and the support they both received from Prisoners Abroad.

A few years ago my son and his friend decided to go abroad for a festival and I distinctly remember my last words to him before he left:

Please don’t get into any trouble – I am not going through what I went through last time!

A few years previously my son had overstayed his visa in Thailand and I had a phone call in the middle of the night when he cried over the phone frantically asking me to send him £4,000.  I was in complete shock which turned to horror as I eventually realised he wouldn’t be home for a few years.  As it happened he was released after a lesser payment was made. 

My son and his friend arrived in Eastern Europe to go to a festival and on the first day they were both arrested.  My son’s friend’s father called me and was alerting me to the fact they were in court that week and my son did not have any legal representation and of course could not understand the local language. 

Luckily the Consular office had informed Prisoners Abroad that he was in custody and they contacted me offering advice.  I was emailed information sheets and luckily I had a good friend who was my point of contact with them and the Consular office as I was completely panic stricken and found it difficult to communicate. 

Soon after I attended a family support group meeting with them to which my friend came along too.  It was such a relief to know there was someone who could actually help my son and me and also enable me to meet other people who were in a similar position. 

I had previously found it difficult to talk about my son’s position as I felt embarrassed or that it was somehow my fault, but here it was much easier to discuss problems and realise I was not the only one!

When I eventually managed to speak on the phone and by Skype to my son he told me how marvellous Prisoners Abroad had been.  He always received birthday cards from them with multiple messages in, received newspapers and writing materials and envelopes with stamps. He told me he didn’t know how he would have coped in the terrible conditions in the prison in the country where he was detained without their support and fantastic assistance.

Of course it is a charity which relies on help and donations. I understand my son would like to help somehow when he finally returns home.

Creating a safe, non-judgemental space for shared experiences.

Prisoners Abroad helps family members affected by a loved one’s imprisonment by providing one to one support as well as hosting family support groups around the country and arranging overseas visits.

Can you help to support our life-saving work by donating today?