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Kidnappers To Serve Time in Canada

November 22, 1998

ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia (AP) _ Two convicted Canadian kidnappers were jailed in British Columbia Saturday, after serving nine years in Brazilian prisons.

Christine Lamont and David Spencer were transported from Brazil Friday night to Canada to serve out their sentences at home.

But how long they remain in jail is unclear. By Dec. 28, they will have served a third of their 28-year terms and can apply for parole under Canadian law.

Their case became a cause celebre in Canada after they claimed that guards at Sao Paulo’s Carandiru Penitentiary tortured them and routinely violated their rights _ allegations that prison authorities denied.

They staged two hunger strikes in recent months in Brazil to protest their imprisonment. Both were released under a new bilateral prisoner exchange treaty with Canada.

Lamont, Spencer and eight non-Canadians were convicted of kidnapping Abilio Diniz, owner of Brazil’s largest supermarket chain, in 1989.

Although the Canadians claimed for years they were innocent, they later admitted they helped hold Diniz hostage for six days in an underground cell before police freed him unharmed.

At their trial, the kidnappers claimed to be political prisoners since they wanted to funnel a $30 million ransom for Diniz to leftist guerrillas in El Salvador. The ransom was never paid.

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