PM raps Mexicans over case of jailed woman

Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:47pm EDT
 
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper, under fire for not doing enough to help a woman who has been sitting in a Mexican jail for two years without a trial, publicly criticized on Wednesday the way her case has been handled.

Harper's comments were the second time in a week that Ottawa has rapped Mexican authorities about the case of Brenda Martin, who was arrested in early 2006 on charges of money laundering.

Martin, now on suicide watch in Guadalajara, insists she is not guilty and says Canada is not doing enough to help.

"We're all troubled by the fact that a Canadian has been in a Mexican prison now for two years without trial. The process is unacceptably slow," Harper told reporters in London, Ontario.

Last week Canada delivered a diplomatic note to Mexico expressing unhappiness with the way the affair has been handled. Media reports say Martin shares a cell with up to eight other women, including a convicted murderer.

Critics, pointing to a number of Canadians who have died or been killed in Mexico over the last couple of years, say Harper's Conservatives are not doing enough to protect citizens who get into trouble abroad.

The Mexican embassy in Ottawa declined to comment.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway)

 
<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves to media as he leaves Cleardale Public School in London, Ontario March 19, 2008. REUTERS/Geoff Robins</p>