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Angry Bond rejects US 'regret' over arrest

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER Derek Bond, who was wrongly imprisoned in South Africa at the instigation of the US, has rejected a 'letter of regret' from the American Ambassador in London.

Bond said he has begun pursuing legal action for compensation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which claimed he was a different man wanted on fraud charges.

He was held in a top security Durban jail for three weeks before being released on 26 February (News last week).

A letter from Ambassador William Farish was delivered by courier to Bond's home on 1 March.

'I received a letter of apology but have not accepted it. The Ambassador wrote it at a time when he could not possibly have read the FBI report into what happened. I couldn't possibly accept a willy nilly apology when he couldn't have had time to look at the details and to know what he was apologising for, ' an angry Bond told NCE.

A US embassy spokesman refused to say the letter was an apology: 'It is a letter of regret for the hardship and heartache he and his family suffered.'

An FBI agent visited Bond to take a statement last week but the agency has not apologised either.

'He was a very nice gentleman in comparison to the individual who cold-bloodedly took my statement in jail, ignoring top level references from the UK and US which I gave him, ' Bond said.

He added that he has had two conferences with UK and US lawyers and is looking at claims for false arrest and imprisonment and damages for his wife Audrey, left stranded in KwaZulu-Natal as he was taken to jail 270kms away.

In contrast to his rebuff to US authorities, he has accepted an offer of a two-week holiday from the South African tourist authorities which he will take up later this year.

He also said the Durban Holiday Inn has offered to host a party for the many people, including local engineers, who helped during his crisis, providing support such as medication which had run out. The country club they were staying at when he was arrested has invited the Bonds back too.

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