Monday, August 08, 2005

Who ya gonna call? Jail busters!

A fantastic -- and, I suspect, probably at least somewhat fantastical -- story in the Daily Telegraph about 'Pidyon Shvuyim,' a group of Israeli ex-armymen who, for a generous sum, will break you out of jail in the third world.
With an armoury ranging from spiked drinks and disguises to fake passports, honeytraps and sheer brute force, the seven-strong squad of former special forces troops will launch freelance jail-breaks across the developing world...
Although they might sound like a team dreamt up by a Hollywood screenwriter, their existence was confirmed to The Sunday Telegraph this week by lawyers - and by Dafna Margolin, a 46-year-old from Tel Aviv, who was smuggled out of Cuba by the team four years ago.
"We have rescued eight people so far," said the commander of the group, who insisted on remaining anonymous. "Our price is anything from $50,000 to $150,000."
From India to Cuba and Mexico, the team specialises in rescuing Israeli prisoners from countries where lawyers say that corruption can hamper chances of a fair trial and prison conditions can be horrendous...
"For most cases we spend between two and six months on reconnaissance and preparation," said the unit commander. "We work on two or three at a time and then take time off, sometimes a year, as a 'cool-down' period."
The team is reluctant to divulge details about how it frees its clients, from whom it demands a vow of silence over the specifics of the escape. Those who know their techniques, however, say that the mission is often launched as a prisoner is being moved from place to place.
"One tactic is for the prisoner to fake illness and get moved to a hospital wing, or a clinic, which is less secure," said the associate. "The unit forces the vehicle transporting the prisoner to stop and snatches the inmate.
"Or it uses sedatives to drug police watching the inmates at the hospital, or even girls to fool around with the guards."
The team usually acquires its weapons locally and uses fake passports to get its clients out of the country.
Confirmed by "lawyers"!? Which lawyers, pray, would that be?
And let me ask you this: If you were Dafna Margolin, and had been smuggled out of jail -- anywhere in the world -- illegally, would you be going on the record saying so, using your own name?
Nevertheless, file this under, 'good to know -- just in case.'

(Hat tip: Harry)

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