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William "Billy" Hayes (born April 3, 1947) is an American writer, actor, convicted drug smuggler and film director. He is best known for his autobiographical book Midnight Express, about his experiences in and escape from a Turkish prison after being convicted of smuggling hashish. He was one of hundreds of U.S. citizens in foreign jails serving drug charge sentences following a drug smuggling crackdown by foreign governments.


Hayes, an American student, was caught trying to smuggle four pounds of hashish out of Turkey on October 7, 1970. He was originally sentenced to four years and two months in a Turkish prison; with his release date weeks away, he learned that the authorities had chosen to penalize him with a life sentence.
Hayes was imprisoned at SaA?malcA?lar Prison in Turkey. Following an incident in prison, he was transferred in 1972 to Bakirkoy Mental Hospital, described as a "lunatic asylum." The United States Department of State on several occasions pressured Turkey to transfer sentencing to the United States, however Turkish foreign minister Melih Esenbel stated that the United States was not in a position to exercise a sentence handed down by Turkish courts. Esenbel stated privately to officials that a release might be possible on humanitarian grounds if Hayes' physical or mental health was deteriorating, but in a private consultation, Hayes stated to U.S. diplomats that his experience at Bakirkoy Mental Hospital in 1972 was highly traumatic and he did not have confidence that the hospital would certify him for early release; Hayes also stated that he felt attempts to win early release would jeopardize his prospects of being transferred to a more desirable half-open prison. On May 12, 1975, the Turkish Constitutional Court declared amnesty for all narcotics offenses which shortened Hayes sentence from life to 25 years. He was transferred to A?mralA? Prison on July 11, 1975.
Declassified State Department telegrams indicated that in discu

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Billy Hayes Latest News

Armed ‘Sexual Predator’ Sought in Series of Rapes of Women Working as Prostitutes: LAPD

“We have a predator out here who is preying on individuals while using a weapon and assaulting them,” Capt. William Hayes said. “The prostitution activity is not an issue that’s our concern at this point in time.” The investigation started after ...
Posted: December 15, 2017, 1:12 pm

Dolphins put William Hayes on injured reserve

Dolphins defensive end William Hayes‘ season has come to an end. The Dolphins announced on Tuesday that they have placed Hayes on injured reserve. Coach Adam Gase suggested on Monday that Hayes, who did not play against the Patriots last Sunday because ...
Posted: November 28, 2017, 8:31 am

Hayes, Clayton

Clayton (Richard) Hayes, 78, passed away on December 3, 2017, in Chattanooga. He was born to the late William C. Hayes, Sr. and Clara Hayes. Clayton grew up in Chattanooga, and was educated in the city school system. He was employed several years at Summit ...
Posted: December 6, 2017, 7:00 am
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