Thursday, January 9, 2014

The violins are out in Montreal

MGR's view

Guadalajara -
The Milenio news network reported this evening that protesters marched today in front of the Mexican consulate in Montreal. They were denouncing the arrest of co-nationals (presumably) Mlles. Fallon Poisson Rouiller and Amelie Pelletier, both caught in the act of firebombing a government installation and a car dealership in Mexico City Sunday night.

Fortunately, little damage occurred. But the two women, who hailed from Chiapas (whether they were living there or just visiting remains one of many unresolved questions) are under detention by federal authorities and are facing serious charges. Canadian women* just won't behave in Mexico. Why that would surprise any reasonable person, or evoke a demand for their immediate release, is unclear.

No accused person is presumed guilty solely by reason of her arrest. Nor is she entitled to immediate discharge because she happens to be a foreign national. She wouldn't get such treatment in Canada or the United States, and she won't in Mexico, either.

An American named Jon Hammar entered Mexico in 2012 with a firearm. Personal possession of a weapon in this country is strictly forbidden by federal law. There are no exceptions. Even a BB or pellet gun - or in his case, a rusty old shotgun - may expose one to prosecution here.

The press, especially in the U.S, stepped boldly up to bat for Mr. Hammar, and eventually the new PRI administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto freed him. It was unquestionably the right and just thing to do, given Hammar's obvious lack of mens rea (guilty state of mind). But there was something distasteful about the whole affair, because it implied that the United States can tell Mexico what to do in its own criminal justice system. With a little help from his friends, Jon Hammar released.

Another case involving a Canadian woman who was in Mexican custody for 18 months was reported in detail on the pages of MGR. For those who think that Mexico does not strictly enforce international legal rights in its own judicial proceedings, this story proves otherwise: Mexican Supreme Court frees Canadian Cynthia Ann Vanier. An entirely independent criminal investigation conducted over months by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police demonstrated Vanier's almost certain guilt, but she walked on the most technical of technicalities - technicalities which the U.S. justice system has brushed aside with a wave of the hand, and in capital punishment cases, no less.

And Mexico did the same thing in the case of a notorious Gallic kidnapper, a member of the dreaded Los Zodiaco gang, which snatched ordinary people (often with minimal resources) and held them for whatever ransom their terrified families could collect. She was freed on one of the same arguments used by Vanier. That's why there was No justice for Mexicans in the Florence Cassez ruling.

Mexico has the right to make and enforce whatever laws it wants, as does every nation. Maylasia will gladly hang you at first light on any unannounced Friday morning, for example - with all the courtesy of two hours' advance notice - for the petty possession of drugs, including marijuana. Don't beg for a pardon after the fact.

Let justice runs its course here, and save the violin music until all the facts are known. Canada, with an accused Mexican, would do exactly the same.

Dec. 5 - U.N. selects Mexico's Supreme Court for prestigious Defense of Human Rights Award

© MGR 2014. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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