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Saturday, July 17, 2010

American tortured and held in Mexican jail without English speaking attorney, US consul won't help, witness killed

7/17, "Inside Mexico's drug war Americans allege abuse," WSJ.com, N. Casey "American officials say U.S. consulates see numerous cases every year of Americans arrested in Mexico, and the consulates don't get involved in defending them. Consular officials informed Mr. Huckabee's family that they couldn't represent their son or offer legal advice....
  • Mr. Huckabee has been through five defense lawyers, none of whom speaks English.
  • One lawyer who reviewed the case said recently he believed that crimes result from "demons entering the body and taking control, as Paul says in the Bible." One of his lawyers was shot and wounded in May, while exiting the prosecutor's offices....
In the Mexican judicial system, testimony isn't given in an open courtroom before a jury, but in office cubicles in front of lawyers. Typically, neither the judge nor the defendant is present. The judge rules based on the transcript and case file. ...
  • ..."Between 2006 to 2009, complaints to Mexico's National Human Rights Commission about the military grew tenfold, to about 4,000, including allegations of

..."Testimony from three Mexican witnesses at the scene—people who said they didn't know the Americans—contradicted the army's version of events.

José Antonio Bujanda, 21, told the court on Feb. 26 that he saw soldiers pull over Messrs. Huckabee and Quijas while he was washing windows of cars lined up to cross the bridge into Texas.

  • He said he saw soldiers plant the suitcases in Mr. Huckabee's gray Dodge Ram." (A few months later this witness was murdered, following). ed.

(continuing, WSJ): ""The two soldiers went to their own truck. I saw them take out two suitcases, then put them in the gray truck," he said.

  • Abraham Antero Torres, a 19-year-old candy seller, testified that he saw the same. "The military men that were behind took out two black traveler's suitcases and put them into the Ram, and that was it," he said.

A third witness, Fernando Monsiváis, another window washer, told the court: "The soldiers put the suitcases in the truck, the young men's truck."

  • Mr. Bujanda was shot and killed in front of his home by an unknown assailant on July 2. Attempts to reach Messrs. Torres and Monsiváis to comment
  • were unsuccessful....

The case of the two Americans comes as political tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border have risen over issues such as illegal immigration and the trafficking of U.S. firearms into Mexico. Under the 2007 Merida Initiative,

including more than $420 million for the Mexican military. U.S. lawmakers have threatened to withhold 15%—nearly $200 million—if there are human-rights violations or other problems....

  • via Drudge Report. top photo reuters, others wsj

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