Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Robert Landon, Security Contractor, sentenced in secret hearing in Afghanistan

Adelaide Now

Former South Australian soldier’s 20-year jail term in Afghanistan labeled a death sentence

A 20-YEAR jail term in Afghanistan for former South Australian soldier, Robert Langdon, has been branded “a virtual death sentence” by his lawyer.

It was revealed last night that Mr Langdon, 38, a security contractor and former Australian Army soldier, was sentenced in a secret hearing by the Supreme Court in October last year.

His health had seriously declined after October 2009, when an Afghan court found him guilty of murdering a fellow security contractor in May 2009 and sentenced him to death by hanging. He has always maintained that he shot the man in self-defence.

Mr Langdon is in Pol-e-Charkhi prison, which his Adelaide lawyer, Stephen Kenny, said last night was “the equivalent of a death sentence”.

Mr Langdon’s current state of health is not known.

Mr Kenny told The Advertiser he had not been officially contacted by the Afghani courts to confirm the decision.

“I have not spoken to him (Langdon) yet, but we would be very concerned about a 20-year prison sentence in Afghanistan,” he said.

Mr Kenny refused to rule out the possibility of appealing against the decision.

“We will need to look at what has happened. What our options are, and the possible outcomes of those.”

Mr Langdon’s family, who live in Port Augusta, declined to comment last night.

After twice being sentenced to death, at his initial trial and then at his appeal in January last year, Mr Langdon paid a sizeable amount of compensation, known as ibra, to appease the dead man’s family.

Mr Kenny travelled to Afghanistan in May last year hoping the compensation and forgiveness could save Mr Langdon’s life.

His former army mates also set up a fighting fund last year to contribute to the compensation payment. Such “act of grace” payments are routine when a local is killed by coalition forces. The amounts vary but most are in the vicinity of $20,000, which is a fortune for poor Afghans.

Mr Langdon grew up on Billa Kalina Station, 170km southeast of Coober Pedy and served as a corporal with the 1st Battalion in East Timor in 2000.

He was arrested and charged with murder following the shooting last May. At the time, he was acting as head of security for a convoy in Afghanistan which had already faced a Taliban attack.

There was an incident involving an Afghan security contractor who had halted the vehicles, but Mr Langdon wanted to keep moving.

“When Mr Langdon approached him to discuss the matter, the security contractor drew his gun on him and Mr Langdon shot him in self-defence,” Mr Kenny told The Advertiser last year.

“He’s always maintained it was self-defence . . . we want to make sure even in Afghanistan he gets what would be considered a fair go.”

Last year, Mr Langdon’s Port Augusta-based sister Katie Godfrey said she was worried about her brother’s deteriorating health and that he had lost 20kg.  Please see the original here

January 5, 2011 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Private Security Contractor | , , , , ,

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