Canada protests to Mexico over jailed woman

Tue Mar 11, 2008 9:42pm EDT
 
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QUEBEC CITY, Quebec (Reuters) - Canada's government, roundly criticized for not doing enough to protect its citizens abroad, on Tuesday took the unusual step of protesting to Mexico about the case of a Canadian woman who has been languishing in jail for two years without a trial.

Brenda Martin, arrested in early 2006 on charges of money laundering, is on suicide watch in Guadalajara. She insists she is innocent and loudly complains to visiting media and officials that Canada is not doing enough to help.

A spokesman for Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier said Canada had delivered a diplomatic note to Mexico expressing its unhappiness with the way the affair had been handled.

"The note reiterates Canada's continued deep concern about the status and well-being of Ms. Martin in light of her lengthy imprisonment," he said.

It also sought assurances that Mexican authorities had fairly treated Martin, who complained she had not been provided a translator during police interviews. Media reports say she shares a cell with up to eight other women, including a convicted murderer.

Opposition legislators say the minority Conservative government cares little for Canadians in trouble abroad. Ottawa is also under pressure to intervene in the case of a young man sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Mohammad Zargham)