Neil Campbell.
Neil Campbell.

Rudd asked to free Campbell

THE children of Sunshine Coast building construction manager Neil Campbell, 61, want Kevin Rudd to demand the United States allow their father out of a Delhi jail so he can come home.

Mr Campbell, who has been detained in Delhi’s Tihar prison since October 13 at the request of the United States Justice Department, has repeatedly indicated his willingness to go voluntarily to Washington to face charges that he solicited a bribe from a sub-contractor while he was supervising a USAID-funded construction project in Afghanistan.

The US Justice Department alleges Mr Campbell asked for $US190,000 from an agent posing as a representative of sub-contractor ABC and was in possession of a $US10,000 deposit on that amount when arrest in Delhi.

Senior Indian lawyers told the ABC last week that there were no impediments to simply taking Mr Campbell to the airport and putting him on a direct flight to the United States, given his willingness to go.

However yesterday the United States again failed to be formally present inside the India court which is preparing the extradition process. The United States, after asking that Mr Campbell be detained so that he could be transferred to Washington, has still not lodged a formal extradition request.

As a result the Indian judge adjourned the matter to November 1.

Mr Campbell’s children Reid, 19, and Madison, 21, have asked Member for Fairfax Alex Somlyay to seek Foreign Affairs minister Kevin Rudd’s intervention.

They want Mr Rudd to demand that the US allow their father to go to Washington now and failing that be allowed to return home until the US Justice Department is ready to proceed.

Mr Somlyay said last night he would pursue the matter urgently.

He approached Mr Rudd on the children’s behalf last week to ensure their father had access to clean clothes, drinking water and food.

Sally Sara, the ABC’s South East Asian correspondent based in Delhi, spoke with Mr Campbell before he entered court yesterday and said later that he was in good spirits and brightened considerably when she passed on message from Sunshine Coast friends.

Australia High Commission staff also passed him a folder containing letters from his children.

“He looked really good,” Ms Sara said. “He was polite and quietly spoken when dealing with the judge and was cheerful. He looked neat and tidy in a black polo shirt and the pants he wore at his last appearance.”

However she said Mr Campbell was not confident that the Australian government would provide assistance.

“They are third world conditions,” he told Ms Sara about the jail in which he is being held.

“But I’m adapting.”

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