Former military pilot Dan Duggan has found himself in an inhumane and degrading situation due to the actions of Australian authorities, acting at the behest of the United States government. These authorities have alleged that Mr. Duggan breached money laundering and arms export control laws over a decade ago while training non-military pilots in South Africa. The US is seeking his extradition, and on October 21, 2022, the 54-year-old Australian citizen was arrested by federal police in Orange, New South Wales.
Shortly after his arrest, Dan Duggan was taken to Bathurst Correctional Centre, where he was placed in maximum security solitary confinement in a dry cell. A dry cell, according to Corrective Services NSW website, is a cell without a toilet or running water typically used for inmates suspected of concealing contraband or refusing to provide a urine sample. It is not intended for prolonged stays, yet Dan remained in this condition for two days, a clear violation of his human rights.
Furthermore, during his time at Bathurst, his lawyer and family were unaware of his location, and he had not been charged with any offenses in Australia. The lack of communication and transparency is deeply concerning. While Dan’s children make the long journey to Lithgow’s gaol once a week to see him, they are subjected to invasive searches and confined to a small room under constant surveillance. These harsh measures would be more fitting for a violent criminal, not a man like Dan, who has no history of violence.
This mistreatment of Dan Duggan bears a striking resemblance to the unjust treatment of Julian Assange, another Australian political prisoner, on behalf of the United States. In a recent submission to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, Mr. Duggan’s lawyers stated that his imprisonment constitutes four breaches of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These breaches include the failure to protect him from inhumane and degrading treatment, failure to segregate him from convicted prisoners, denial of adequate facilities to prepare his legal defense, and the violation of his right to confidential communication. A clinical psychologist who assessed Mr. Duggan diagnosed him with severe adjustment disorder, anxiety, and depression, emphasizing the extreme and inhumane conditions in which he is being held.
As of today, Dan Duggan has been imprisoned in maximum security solitary confinement in his own country for over a year. This ongoing nightmare has taken a toll on his wife, Saffrine, and their six children, not only emotionally but also financially. His incarceration has caused a loss of income, making it increasingly challenging to support the family and cover legal expenses.
Despite the seriousness of the issue and the impact it has on an Australian citizen and his family, the Australian government has remained largely silent. Prime Minister Albanese refused to address the matter with President Biden during his recent visit to Washington, and Attorney General Dreyfus has failed to take action. This neglect by the government only exacerbates the cruelty and inhumanity endured by the Duggan family.
To support the Duggan family, concerned readers can reach out to relevant federal members of parliament, including the Prime Minister (Anthony Albanese), Foreign Minister (Penny Wong), and Attorney General (Mark Dreyfus), expressing their concern and urging Dan Duggan’s transfer to a minimum-security facility until his court date in May. Additionally, donations and ongoing support to assist with the family’s living costs and legal expenses are greatly appreciated.
It is crucial that Dan Duggan’s transfer to a more suitable prison environment is achieved to alleviate the immense stress and hardship experienced by him and his family. By taking action and raising awareness about this unjust situation, the Australian public can send a message that the mistreatment and disregard for human rights will not be tolerated.