On October 6, 1970, the 22 year old American student Billy Hayes visited Turkey. In Istanbul, however, he was arrested by the Turkish police for possession of 4 kg ha.shish as he was about to leave the country with his girlfriend. Billy is imprisoned for 4 years and 2 months. In 1974, following an appeal, the Court rejected the original four-year sentence and sentenced him to 30 years in prison for his … crime.
Billy’s stay in jail turns into a real hell: terrible scenes of bodily and spiritual torture by sadistic prison guards follow each other, while bribery, violence and paranoia dominate the prison.
Billy hired a lawyer who, however, betrayed him because he was corrupt. Also the judges who dealt with Bill were corrupt and biased against him. The only one supporter that Bill had was his girlfriend and his parents. In vain, the US was trying to get him judged in his country.
After five years in the notorious Sangmalisar Prison, he was transferred to Bosphorus Prison where he stayed for six months planning his escape. In 1975, his girlfriend, Susan, visited him and was terrified when she saw what the guards had done to him.
She gave him $ 2,000 that his father had sent him, hidden in a photo album, hoping to help him escape. Bill did not follow an inspired plan, but escaped by hitting the guards and stealing what he had found in front of him. After he hit the guards in his ward, he wore his clothes and went out of prison without anyone noticing him.
Then he stole a boat and when he arrived in the first city he colored his hair black to be unrecognizable. On the night of October 4, 1975, Billy crossed the border to Greece and three weeks later arrived in Frankfurt. The film, the midnight express, portrayed part of the horror that he lived at the age of 22.
The 1978 film, directed by Alan Parker, was filmed entirely in Malta as the authorities of Istanbul did not grant permission. George Moroder’s music was the first Oscar-winning film, while the star Brad Davey won the Golden Globe for his performance in the film, but in 1981, at the age of 41, he died of AIDS.
Today Billy Hays is 70 years old and lives in Los Angeles. He works as a writer, actor and director in the Performing Industry, and of course he can not forget the nightmarish moments he lived. In his statements he claims that film based on his autobiographical book, wrongly gave a brutal picture to the people of Turkey, which until 1992 was banned until finally screened by pay-TV. Hosted for many years by the Turks, he only returned in 2007 to speak at the 2nd Istanbul Conference on Democracy and Global Security, organized by the Turkish National Police.