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UNC professor convicted, sentenced in Argentina

Posted November 22, 2012
Updated January 15, 2013

— A court in Argentina has convicted and sentenced a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill professor who was jailed there in January after authorities found drugs in his suitcase.

Paul Frampton, a physics and astronomy professor, was sentenced to four years and eight months in confinement Monday afternoon. Mark Williams, a fellow UNC professor and ardent supporter of Frampton, said his sentence translates into 2 years and four months of actual time served. 

"The over 10 months he has already served count," Williams said in an email to WRAL News. "So we expect he should be out by May 2014.

Frampton was released earlier this month to the custody of a friend in Argentine after he developed a lung ailment from second-hand smoke in the prison. He is expected to serve out his time under house arrest.

Williams said it's also possible that the court will allow Frampton to teach at a university in Buenos Aires during that time.

"We are not sure about that yet," he said.

Frampton was arrested at an airport in Buenos Aires in January and charged with attempting to smuggle drugs out of the country, according to the U.S. State Department.

British news reports say Frampton told investigators he was in Argentina to meet a model he'd met online and someone gave him a bag they claimed belonged to the woman.

His advocates in Chapel Hill say Frampton made a mistake, thinking he was helping a friend. Friends, students, his ex-wife and Congressman David Price have rallied behind him.


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  • Objective Scientist Nov 14, 2012

    This is a prime example of the type of thing that frustrates and puzzles the general public about "higher education" and "professors"! The faculty who support Frampton and are fighting to have his salary "re-instated" - do you realize how that looks to almost everyone except yourselves? It matters NOT that Frampton may have been "set-up". It matters NOT how "esteemed" he may be in his field, etc. A crime would be committed by the University if it continued to pay someone their full, or even partial, salary while they were in prison in a foreign country!!! It does NOT matter that he may have been able teo continue to talk with his "grad students" via phone. It does NOT matter that he may have even published some papers written while in prison. "Set up", just plain gullible? It does NOT matter. I absolutely - and I believe most people agree - fail to understand ANY justification for this man's salary to continue, in part or in whole! Some academicians truly live in a "fairy tale" world!

  • atheistswillrule Nov 2, 2012

    Love Argentina!