Monday, March 10, 2008

Another imprisoned Canadian abandoned by our government

There's no evidence she's committed any crimes, her boss who was imprisoned for fraud says she had nothing to do with it and the Mexican authorities arrested and imprisoned her with no interpreter. How many of us would be in prison if we were held responsible for the actions of a corrupt employer? And could we count on our government to protect us if we were?

Apparently not

BELLEVILLE, Ont. — Brenda Martin, a Canadian woman imprisoned for two years in Mexico, has been moved into her prison’s hospital room for her own safety, supporters said Sunday.

Martin, who was recently placed on suicide watch, is now under 24-hour guard, said friend and advocate Debra Tieleman.

“That’s to ensure that Brenda doesn’t hurt herself ... this is actually a good development for Brenda, given her state of mind.”

Tieleman and Martin’s mother, Marjorie Bletcher, said Martin’s mental and physical health have been deteriorating as she waits for a new ruling in the Mexican courts.

Martin, who has never been convicted of any crime, has been imprisoned in connection with a fraud scam operated by her former boss, who is now serving time in an American prison.

Martin has always maintained her innocence; a claim backed up by her former boss.

Toronto lawyer Guillermo Cruz has said Martin’s human rights were violated during her arrest and that she was never given a proper interpreter.

Though a Mexican judge was expected to rule on Martin’s case Friday, no decision has been released, friends said.

Now, they fear Martin may not be able to hold on any longer.

“She’s quite drugged, she’s quite slow when she talks, sort of drifting off,” said Tieleman.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government has done little to help Martin, supporters said.

“What’s wrong? What does that tell you? They don’t care,” said Bletcher.

Tieleman said Helena Guergis, Canada’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, must send a message that “Canada is serious“ about Martin’s case.

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