World: Two years in Brazil prison hell: British drug smuggler describes how he was beaten with clubs and forced to spend 12 hours fighting an inmate in Sao Paulo jail - - PressFrom - Australia
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World Two years in Brazil prison hell: British drug smuggler describes how he was beaten with clubs and forced to spend 12 hours fighting an inmate in Sao Paulo jail

00:20  03 december  2019
00:20  03 december  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Two years in Brazil prison hell : British drug smuggler describes how he was beaten with clubs and forced to spend 12 hours fighting an inmate in Sao Paulo jail . Craig Gifford spent two years in Brazilian jail after drug trafficking conviction. He has told of the horrors he endured while behind bars

"I served two years in Brazil and I had AK47s pointed in my face, I was told to strip naked, and beaten with clubs as I ran through the jail to try and get away. Craig Gifford, a one-time cocaine mule, during his time spent abroad before he was caught at Sao Paulo airport in Brazil (Image: handout).

a man sitting on a rock: Gifford pictured during his time spent abroad before his arrest. In hindsight, Gifford expressed remorse for his actions. 'I am struggling, but I'm alive and thankful for it'© Provided by Daily Mail Gifford pictured during his time spent abroad before his arrest. In hindsight, Gifford expressed remorse for his actions. 'I am struggling, but I'm alive and thankful for it'

A British man who was caught trafficking cocaine into Brazil has told of the horrors he endured during his stint in a Sao Paulo jail.

Craig Gifford from Runcorn, Cheshire described how he was beaten with clubs, had guns thrust in his face and was forced to spend 12 hours locked in a physical brawl with another inmate.

He was initially sentenced to eight years and ended up spending a gruelling two years in the Brazil prison, during which time he said he had to fight to stay alive by 'keeping his head up'.

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A hoard of inmates at Wandsworth Prison , in south London, clashed as drug gangs fought for supremacy over who trafficked and dealt narcotics on their wing. One inmate had to be airlifted to hospital after he was beaten and stabbed during the fight , which took place just two weeks ago.

Another jail , the Pedrinhas Prison Complex is the largest penitentiary in Maranhao state, in Sao Luis has also seen violence over the years . Critics believe overcrowding is one of the primary causes of rioting and violence in Brazil 's prisons . Additionally, overcrowding has strengthened prison gangs

He described his limited access to water for drinking and washing, being forced to sleep on a concrete floor and surviving on a monotonous diet of rice and beans.

The Brit explained how he had AK47s pointed in his face and was told to strip naked and beaten with clubs as he tried to run away.

He told the publication: 'In Sao Paulo, I had a concrete bed, no mattress, with a hole in the floor to go to the toilet, loads of insects and mosquitoes...it was unhygienic from top to bottom.'

Gifford was allowed just one hour of cold water in the morning and evening for drinking and washing himself.

He was once locked in a prison cell with a Nigerian inmate, and the pair spent 12 hours beating each other through the night, unable to get away.

Gifford, who used to work as a salesman and warehouse worker, was caught in 2014 after smuggling 6.5kg of the Class A drug into Brazil in his suitcase.

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Two years later he met a Sri Lankan man who introduced him to drug trafficking. Thomas would escort up to 70 tourists a day around the prison with some shelling out over £100 to spend the night. He was released in 2000 after four and a half years in jail . He was so happy he fainted.

After suffering the loss of his mother at age 27, Gifford spent time abroad and became acquainted with drugs bosses who offered him £25,000 ($AU47,440) to sneak through hauls of cocaine to the other side of the world.

Gifford explained how he had AK47s pointed in his face and was told to strip naked and beaten with clubs as he tried to run away© Provided by Daily Mail Gifford explained how he had AK47s pointed in his face and was told to strip naked and beaten with clubs as he tried to run away

Gifford admits he had carried out similar drug mule operations, in countries including Thailand and Vietnam.

He went on to serve two years in the Sao Paulo jail before being transferred to a prisons HMP Wandworth and HMP Kirkham in the UK. His sentence was reduced to six years and nine months.

Speaking of his time in the prison, Gifford told the Liverpool Echo: 'Conditions were so bad in Sao Paulo, with prisoners running the jail and nobody to stop the violence - it's all about gangs..'

The 33-year-old added: 'If caught smuggling drugs in other countries, it's not like England, they don't care if you live or die.'

However Gifford, who suffered the loss of both his brother and mother, said: 'I won't let what happened to me defeat me, I'm still fighting.

'I only found myself at the end when I was free, and discovered I could be a good person on the right side of the law.'

He was freed in April and has since managed to find employment. However his work life has been hampered by his ongoing suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In hindsight, Gifford expressed remorse for his actions. 'I am struggling, but I'm alive and thankful for it.'

'Looking back, I can't believe how crazy and stupid I was, but it was a bad situation that I put myself in.'

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