Ron Shewchuk Consulting Inc.

April 14, 2011 11:49 ET

Public Support For Pavel Kulisek Grows as Three-Year Ordeal Reaches Crisis Point

April 16 Rally Planned to Support Innocent Canadian Held in Mexican Prison

NORTH VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 14, 2011) - Fearing that Canadian Pavel Kulisek might make a second desperate attempt to take his own life in a Mexican jail, a group of friends and community supporters are organizing a rally on Saturday, April 16 to draw attention to Kulisek's plight and call for his immediate return to Canada. Kulisek was falsely accused of having ties to Mexican drug lords and has been imprisoned without a trial for over three years.

North Vancouver family practitioner Dr. Ramona Penner is concerned that Kulisek's life may be at risk if his three-year incarceration continues much longer. Dr. Penner, a family friend, recently visited Kulisek at a psychiatric prison in Mexico City, where he was transferred after he attempted to hang himself in his cell at Punta Grande federal maximum-security prison in Guadalajara on March 13.

"Pavel was not himself during our visit," says Dr. Penner. "He was exhibiting manic behavior, and I'm worried that his brain may have been injured in his failed suicide attempt. Our conversation was disjointed and rambling, with Pavel jumping from topic to topic with pressured speech. He appeared to be delusional, with unrealistic expectations regarding his release."

Dr. Penner says even if Kulisek is physically healthy, the stress of three years in Mexican prison without an opportunity to prove his innocence have likely driven him to a dangerous level of emotional instability. "It's clear that this situation has reached a crisis point, and I believe Pavel should be returned to Canada on humanitarian grounds so that he can receive proper medical care."

North Vancouver rally will call for government action

Lauren Ellis is part of a core group of North Vancouver community members working on a campaign to raise awareness of Kulisek's situation. She says Canadian diplomats and politicians, including North Vancouver MP Andrew Saxton and Minister of State Diane Ablonczy, have been supportive of Kulisek and his family in many ways, including facilitating Dr. Penner's recent visit, but they have been reluctant to intervene in another country's affairs.

"Canada's official position has been to show sympathy and concern, but to wait and allow the Mexican judicial system take its course," says Ellis. "Three long years have now gone by, and circumstances have changed for the worse. Immediate action is needed to save Pavel from this unbearable situation and reunite him with his family."

Ellis says the April 16 rally is meant to be a wake-up call to government. "There's growing outrage in our community at Pavel's unfair treatment and violations of human rights at the hands of the Mexican law enforcement and judicial systems," says Ellis. "At this point the only way justice can be served is for Canada to intervene to protect one of its citizens who is in danger. If Pavel takes his own life it will be too late for justice."

The April 16 rally, themed "Walk for Justice," will start at Carisbrooke Park on the corner of Lonsdale and Osborne at 10.00 a.m. and will end in Lower Lonsdale at the campaign office of Andrew Saxton.

Some background

Pavel Kulisek, an immigrant from the Czech Republic, arrived in Canada 20 years ago and worked hard to establish a successful building contracting company. He was on an extended and well-deserved family vacation with his wife and two young daughters in Mexico when he was the lone Canadian among several Mexicans arrested in a drug sting in March 2008. In the weeks leading up to his arrest, Kulisek had made friends with a local resident who shared his interest in dirt biking, unaware that the man was a high-ranking member of a drug cartel. Kulisek was arrested without a warrant and imprisoned for three months without being charged. His case has been delayed by red tape and legal wrangling ever since, with the chance of a trial at least eight months away. Most of the original charges against Kulisek have been dropped for lack of evidence, and the original prosecutor on the case is in jail for taking bribes. While Kulisek has languished in prison in Mexico, his wife Jirina and two young children have had only seven minutes per week of access to him by phone. Jirina and her daughters have had to move from their home into a refurbished garage to save money after spending over $100,000 to fund his legal defense.

Facebook page: "Support Pavel Kulisek"

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