On Monday November 19, 2012 Paul was sentenced to 4 years, 8 months, which translates into 2 years, 4 months of actual time to be served. The over ten months he has already served count toward the total, so we expect he should be out by May 2014.
The judges have said he can serve the time under house arrest. It was a big shock for Paul and for all of us. He and his lawyers had thought there was a very good chance of acquittal. There is no doubt that he was the victim of a scam, and we will continue to try to help him.
This past Tuesday, October 30, 2012, Paul was transferred out of Devoto prison to house arrest, just in time for his birthday on Halloween. He is now living in the apartment of his friend Richard, who was a classmate of Paul's many years ago at Oxford, and who is now a businessman in Buenos Aires. Under the terms of the house arrest, Paul is not allowed ever to leave the house. Also, time served under house arrest counts the same as time served in the prison (unlike time spent out on bail). On Tuesday, I had a long conversation with Paul on Skype; he had lost weight but was not as thin as I expected. He was in great spirits in his new surroundings after having had some good food and probably his first glass of wine in over 9 months.
An earlier application to be transferred to house arrest was denied on September 10. Paul met with his three-judge tribunal at that time and they told him that the problem was with the medical report, which seemed to indicate that Paul's medical problems could be treated in the prison. At this meeting the judges told Paul he could get another medical exam, but then weeks went by and nothing happened. Then, very recently, an important change in Paul's situation occurred - he finally hired a private lawyer, or rather, a family of private lawyers. Quickly, they managed to arrange a medical exam for him, and this time the report said all the right (and true) things: namely, that Paul's respiratory condition was being aggravated by conditions in the prison, and that his condition could not be treated properly there. Several days after that, all three judges on his tribunal voted in favor of house arrest and he was out.
In view of the new medical report, we are hopeful that no matter what happens with Paul's trial, he will never again set foot in Devoto prison.
Paul Frampton is a professor in the Physics Department at UNC Chapel Hill, who has been held in prison in Argentina since January 2012 on narcotics charges. He has not yet had a trial. Paul has stated and we strongly believe that he was the victim of a setup. More details on his case can easily be found in newspaper reports on the internet. Standard punishment in Paul's case is a prison term of approximately four and a half years.
Paul has shown courage and even a sense of humor while in prison. He continues to supervise his two current PhD students by phone. Since January he has posted several preprints to the Physics archive using the address "University Center of Devoto", and his voice on the phone sounds strong.
Paul spent January 23, 2012 - October 30, 2012 (282 days) in the Villa Devoto prison in Buenos Aires, where riots occurred in 1962 (over 50 dead) and in 1978 (approximately 60 dead). The prison is seriously overcrowded and a large percentage of the prisoners have not yet been tried.