The mother of a woman dying in prison of cancer says she won't back down until her daughter is free.
Vicki Letele, 35, is eight months into a three-year sentence for a $500,000 mortgage fraud, but seeking early release after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Hundreds of people turned out to protest against her continued imprisonment at Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility at Wiri on Saturday.
Protesters at Wiri (Dianna Vezich / Newshub.)
The mother-of-three has been given six months to live, but the Parole Board has refused to let her out, saying her terminal illness doesn't meet the exceptional circumstances threshold.
Among the protesters were her parents, siblings, her partner and her two sons.
"I'm broken. So broken. I can't back down," her mother Tui Letele told Newshub.
"We were quiet. It's got to come out. They can't do this to my daughter, to anyone. A dog gets better treatment than my daughter. I don't know where to go."
Vicki Letele's supporters and family (Dianna Vezich / Newshub.)
Tui says they've been banned from visting Vicki "until further notice".
"I hear a lot of rubbish. They tell me a lot of stuff they're going to do for my daughter, that they can look after her. Yesterday I found out she'd been calling for her nurse, for pain relief - nothing. They were both asleep, the guard and the nurse… no one came. How can I trust them?"
Tui claims the doctor who has been treating her daughter isn't even an oncologist.
"Free Vicki," she says. "Bring her home so we can be with her and she can die with us."
The demonstration began at 11am with a karakia from a pastor, and featured a haka.
"Free Vicki! Free Vicki!" protesters chanted, many carrying signs.
Corrections chief executive Ray Smith has ordered a review of Letele's case. She will be eligible for parole in April, but is unlikely to live that long.