Bradford

Bradford man jailed in Laos can seek parole

A Briton serving a life sentence for a drugs offence in South-East Asia can have his case referred to the Parole Board, a judge has ruled.

John Watson, 48, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was transferred to the UK to serve out his sentence in April.

He was convicted in 2006 in Laos of trading and possessing drugs after being found in possession of 6,350 amphetamine tablets in 2003.

Mrs Justice Dobbs said the minimum term to be served by Watson was six months.

Torture 'commonplace'

The judge said the time he had already spent in custody meant he was eligible to apply for parole.

He is currently an inmate at HMP Wandsworth.

The judge, who described Watson's case as having "very unusual circumstances", said that the length of his sentence "far exceeds any sentence that this court would or could have passed".

The judge's written ruling described how Watson's time in Laos prisons was "not a pleasant one".

She said: "Beating and torturing of foreign prisoners was commonplace.

"He had to rely on other prisoners for any sustenance and had to resort to catching and eating lizards to survive."

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