August 1, 2013
A Californian college student who was arrested for smoking cannabis and then abandoned and forgotten in a windowless prison cell for almost five days has been awarded a $4.1m (£2.7m) settlement by the US government.
Daniel Chong, 25, had to drink his own urine to survive. When he was finally discovered, he had lost 15lb in weight, and spent a further five days in hospital to be treated for dehydration, kidney failure, cramps and a perforated oesophagus.
The ordeal began on 20 April 2012, when Mr Chong, right, an engineering student at the University of California, San Diego, went to a house close to the campus to smoke marijuana with some friends. Little did he know the property in question was being monitored by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). When officers raided the house, they found drugs including some 18,000 ecstasy pills, as well as weapons and ammunition. Chong was taken into custody along with eight other suspects, but told he would not be charged. He was handcuffed and left in a 5ft by 10ft cell with no windows, where an officer told him: “Hang tight. We’ll come get you in a minute.” He told US media that he believed that for the whole of the first day, saying: “It just seemed impossible that they would forget me in there.”