Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brenda Martin

I'm sure most of you know of the case of Brenda Martin, the woman who has been in a Mexican prison for two years awaiting trial. The length of her imprisonment already violates international laws.

Martin was employed by an Edmonton man by the name of Alyn Waage who was convicted of defrauding 15,000 victims worldwide of an amount roughly in the range of $60 million dollars.

He has been sent to the U.S to serve his sentence there.

The case against Martin suggests that she had something to do with Waage's activities, yet no case has yet to be brought against her. For his part, Waage has stated that Mrs. Martin had nothing to do with his criminal activities.

Listening to Martin recently on CTV's Question Period, the woman appears to be on the brink of a breakdown. She is currently being sedated and is on a suicide watch.

MP Dan McTeague, the Liberal consular affairs critic has made repeated calls for the government to intervene in the case, and has also visited Brenda Martin in her Mexican jail. Former Prime Minister Paul Martin (no relation to Brenda) has also recently visited her.

The Harper government recently sent a diplomatic note of protest, and is escalating the situation by sending Jason Kenney, the minister responsible for multiculturalism to speak to Mrs. Martin. The Prime Minister himself has also reportedly spoken to Mexican President Felipe Calderon on the matter.

It's disappointing to me that it took so long for the government to really take this seriously, but it is encouraging that their new found concern seems to have been prompted by public outrage. The Globe and Mail, as well as CTV have been covering the story and now other news sources are also hot on the trail.

If Mrs. Martin is guilty of some offence, she deserves a trial. If there is no evidence (and it appears that there isn't, and she is innocent) than she should be immediately released as per international law and just plain decency.

This incident seriously diminishes the image of Mexico, and the quality of its judicial system for many people, myself included. We can only hope that the Harper government's new found interest will be enough.

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