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Blog gives insight into prison life

Published: 6:37PM Sunday July 30, 2006 Source: One News

A political activist is using his time in Mount Eden Prison to give an insight into what life is really like behind bars.

Tim Selwyn's observations are being published on a blog site and recent topics include detailed information of an attack on high profile prisoner Roger Kahui, who is related to murdered twins Chris and Cru Kahui.

Selwyn, 32, is in jail on sedition and fraud charges and is recording his experience for those on the outside.

The entries claim to bring an uncensored news opinion.

Selwyn sends Martyn "Bomber" Bradbury the information in a letter which has a blog in it which Bradbury then puts onto his website. Bradbury says the letters provide a unique perspective into what prison life is like.

"We get told all the time that it's a hotel that prisoners like going in there," says Bradbury.

But the "reality" Selwyn recorded in his latest entry details a violent attack by other inmates on Roger Kahui who is charged with kidnapping and sexually violating a Pukekohe woman. The blog has revealed yet another violent turn in the saga of the Kahui family and the attack was allegedly made worse because of his family connections.

The National Party is questioning Selwyn's freedom to "write whatever he likes" and plans to raise the issue in parliament. Corrections spokesman Simon Power says the situation is ridiculous.

"People are in prison because they should have lost some of their liberties after committing crimes. We now find a situation where the Corrections Department is allowing an inmate to blog to the outside world," says Power.

However the department says the blogger is not breaking the law. Chief executive Barry Matthews says he's just writing the letter.

"He's got a view of it and somebody wants to put it on, that can happen now, it can happen in newspapers, it's not something that I think we should be too concerned about," says Matthews.

Selwyn was found guilty of publishing seditious statements dating back to an axe attack on the Prime Minister's Auckland electorate office in 2004.

The jury found him guilty of one charge relating to a leaflet he published and distributed in small numbers. The statement called upon "all like-minded New Zealanders to take similar action" to his own role in the axe attack.

Selwyn was sentenced to two months in prison for the axe attack and was also jailed for fraud, including obtaining false identities and using them to claim $11,000 in Work and Income benefits.

It was the first sedition prosecution in New Zealand in more than 50 years.