W-FIVE Investigates the Canadian Casualties of Mexico’s Broken Judicial System

Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV

In the face of tremendous injustice for one Canadian held in a Mexican jail, Canada’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Peter Kent, suggests we must have faith in Mexico’s justice system –

Toronto, ON (April 22, 2009) – Canadian Pavel Kulisek has been rotting away in an underground Mexican prison for over a year. Though no real evidence exists, he remains charged with being involved with the notorious Tijuana drug cartel. In a new hour-long episode of W-FIVE premieringSaturday, April 25 at 7 p.m. ET (visit CTV.ca to confirm local broadcast times), Victor Malarek reports on the Canadian collateral damage in the war against Mexico’s drug cartels, and what the Canadian government is doing – or not doing – to help its citizens.

Looking for a temporary change in pace and more quality time with family, Kulisek and his family travelled to Mexico where they began living and working in the Baja Peninsula. On March 11, 2007, their lives changed forever. Kulisek went into town to meet new friend and fellow dirt-biker Carlos Herrera. But the men were all arrested by police and thrown into prison – Kulisek accused of working on behalf of the Tijuana Drug Cartel. It was then that he learned Herrera’s true identity: Carlos was actually alleged Drug Lord Gustavo Rivera Herrera.

With no prior criminal history in Canada, Mexico or the United States, Kulisek’s family thought that what they saw as a misunderstanding would be resolved quickly. But Kulisek has already been held for 13 months – and there’s no sign that he’s going to be released any time soon. The prosecution’s case rests on one statement by one witness – former corrupt police officer Marcos Assemat. He’s an ex-con who has spent time in prison in Mexico and the U.S. on drug convictions. He’s also made a deal with the prosecutor to become a protected witness in return for his testimony.

It is just another example of a justice system out of control, according to Tamara Taraciuk, a lawyer with the international organization Human Rights Watch who just released a report on the Mexican Justice system. In an interview with W-FIVE, Taraciuk explains that “the Mexican justice system is totally dysfunctional.” It is an opinion supported by Amnesty International, who recently said “the functions of the public prosecutors office [in Mexico] are highly susceptible to political or personal influence to secure unwarranted or even fabricated prosecutions.”

And yet despite the overwhelming evidence that Pavel Kulisek is an innocent man, W-FIVE has learned that the Canadian government refuses to intervene in his case. “We have to have faith that the… that due process will prevail,” Canada’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Peter Kent, told Malarek.

 

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