Dying prisoner's family: 'They want us to pipe down'

4:04 pm on 6 November 2016

The family of a terminally-ill prisoner asking for compassionate release say they have now been denied visiting rights, however the Corrections Department says visits were cancelled at the prison for one day only.

Vicki Letele's brother Dave

Vicki Letele's brother Dave Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

More than 200 protesters gathered outside the women's prison in Auckland today, calling for the compassionate release of a prisoner dying of stomach cancer.

Vicki Letele is serving a sentence of three years, two months for fraud.

Her appeal for compassionate release, to see out her final months of life at home, has been denied, with authorities saying she can get high-quality treatment in jail.

Vicki Letele's father David

Vicki Letele's father David Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

Her father David Letele - who also runs a charitable trust that assists people leaving prison - said his daughter's fight was bigger than just her.

"We're really prayful and hopeful that the powers that be take notice of what has happened here, and I also pray to those that are in those positions, that are able to prompt change, will take notice."

Mr Letele said change would only come for those in similar positions if enough noise was made.

Dozens of protesters called for the released of terminal cancer patient Vicki Letele.

Dozens of protesters called for the released of terminal cancer patient Vicki Letele. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

Her brother David Letele said he learned this morning family and friends had now been denied visiting rights.

He said the family felt bullied by Corrections and would not back down.

Protesters were outside the women's prison.

Protesters were outside the women's prison. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

"If she didn't want this we wouldn't do it. She spoke to my mum today and she said let's still go ahead.

"Because they want us to pipe down, they don't want us to do anything and we're not going to fade away.

"You know, next stop is Judith Collins' front door."

However a statement from Corrections said it supported the rights of individuals to protest in a peaceful manner.

"To maintain the safe running of the prison and ensure the safety of staff and prisoners, Corrections today made changes to the normal daily routine of the prison. This included cancelling visits", it said.

Dozens of protesters called for the released of terminal cancer patient Vicki Letele.

Dozens of protesters called for the released of terminal cancer patient Vicki Letele. Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

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