Monday, May 01, 2017


Inside the notorious Colombian El Buen Pator prison known as 'The Good Shepherd' where accused Australian cocaine smuggler has been locked up with two thousand other women

By Kate Darvall and Nic White

Daily Mail
April 30, 2017

This is the notorious Colombian prison where a young Australian woman was locked up after she was arrested with 5.8kg of cocaine at a South American airport.

Cassandra Sainsbury, 22, was taken to El Buen Pator in Colombia's capital after she was arrested at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota on April 11.

Miss Sainsbury, a personal trainer from Adelaide, has reportedly been locked up at the overcrowded women's prison since.

Home to drug dealers, murders and petty criminals, El Buen Pastor is widely known for its unconventional in-house beauty pageant.

Incredible photos have emerged of prison inmates dressed in formal wear, crowns and sashes for the annual pageant.

The prison has nine cell blocks, each housing between 100 and 250 women.

Each cell block elects one woman to be its representative to contest the top prize.

Secretary of the Colombian jail and the pageant's co-ordinator Virginia Camacho defended the beauty pageant.

'The fact that they made a mistake in their lives doesn't mean they aren't allowed to be a human being or feel like a woman,' she said.

The contest is held every September to honour the Virgin of Mercedes, patron saint of prisons.

Other photos show women with their babies inside the prison, which reportedly has a section dedicated to women and their young children.

Women were also pictured listening to a TED motivational talk in June 2015.

While photos depict a fun, light-hearted side to the the prison, deplorable conditions have also been documented from inside.

One photographer described the women's prison as overcrowded, filthy and with bullet holes littered throughout.

Photographer Jan Banning said prisoners were forced to sleep on the floor and were packed into confined spaces like cattle.

El Buen Pastor has reportedly been home to 22-year-old Cassandra Sainsbury for almost two months.

She will remain behind bars until her hearing in two months, according to her family.

'I'm devastated that my little girl is in this place. I'm scared to death for her. Our family just wants her home safe,' her mother Lisa Evans said.

'I cant believe this has happened to an innocent young women,Anyone who knows Cassie, knows she did not do this. It can happen to anyone,' her grandmother Barbara Johns added.

Miss Evans' sister Khala said her sister was innocent and had been 'set up'.

'Anyone that knows her, would say she is a kind, loving, happy kind of girl. She would help anyone out in need,' she said.

'Our hearts break, because we know she is innocent, but stands little chance of proving it in such a corrupt country.'

Her arrest came while Miss Evans was planning a wedding next February to her fiance and 'love of her life' Scott Broadbridge, after they got engaged in October on a cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Khala said her sister was tricked into being a drug mule by a man she just met who handed her a package containing the concealed drugs.

She said Cassandra saw some headphones and decided to buy them as gifts for her bridal party and family friends, and a man who was showing her around said a friend could get them cheaper.

The cocaine was concealed in the packing of more than 15 headphones she was given the morning of her flight home.

'It came to her already packaged and concealed and she put it straight in her suitcase. She's very naïve,' Khala told 9 News.

'She has her full life ahead of her, and now its all put on the line because of this. We miss her so much, and since we have very little contact with her its very hard,' he sister said.

Khala said her sister found a Colombian lawyer but he suggested pleading guilty to lesser charges to avoid an up to 25-year jail sentence.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing assistance to an Australian woman arrested in Colombia in accordance with the Consular Services Charter.

'Due to our privacy obligations, we are unable to release further information,' it said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course she’s innocent. All the Australian women who have been caught smuggling drugs in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and now Columbia, claim they were set up. Yeah, and Pigs can fly.


Anonymous said...

Maybe she's better off in jail. You can't fix stupid.

Anonymous said...

Claims of 'innocence' is a natural human survival skill.