Let us suppose that you have a daughter, sister or friend who travels abroad to study. And let us suppose that her house mate is tragically murdered in a botched burglary. That would be pretty traumatic for a young person you might think, but that is not the end of the story.
She stays in town without access to her belongings – they are locked in the villa where the crime took place. Most of the victim’s friends leave as fast as they can. Your daughter stays to help the police. They wear her out with questioning, subject her to an all night grilling and then frame her and her boyfriend.
If you don’t think this can happen, you have not been paying attention. If you don’t think a traumatised adolescent can be made to say whatever the police want them to say, you know nothing about the way miscarriages of justice are created.
It gets worse.
The prosecution briefs the media with ‘misinformation’ (if we are being polite). Most of it is never used in court, but it blackens your daughter’s name around the world and helps to ensure that she is found guilty in a trial that lasts a year. By then she has been in prison, as an innocent person, for two years. The same thing also happens to her now ex-boyfriend.
There is an appeal. Two years later, after another trial that lasts a year, a judge who has actually looked at the evidence pronounces that your daughter and her friend are not merely innocent because guilt cannot be proved, they are innocent because he is certain that they did not commit the crime.
Meanwhile the murderer, the man whose DNA and prints were all over the victim’s body and room, has received a reduced sentence because he chose a short trial and apologised. Conveniently for the prosecution, the ‘motivation report’ – the final judicial summary of the case against him – asserts that your daughter and her friend committed the crime with him and your daughter struck the fatal blow. This whole process took place without allowing your daughter’s lawyers to cross examine the murderer or challenge any of the evidence. She and her friend were not party to his trial.
Never mind, it is all over, you think. After four years the innocent people are out of prison and home.
It is not all over. The prosecution appeals against the acquittal and succeeds. Another trial is ordered and this time the Supreme Court gives clear instructions that the verdict should be guilty. The new appeal court complies.
There will be another appeal. If you think Kafka had it tough, you have no concept of judicial cruelty.
By now over seven years have passed since your daughter’s friend was murdered. Her attempts to reach out to the bereaved family are rebuffed. They believe she is guilty and want to see her in prison again. They have employed a tough lawyer and are suing her for damages as well.
The tabloid media still think that this is a did she/didn’t she thriller. Very few journalists are interested in studying the case and trolls continue to defile your daughter’s name across the internet.
And that is roughly where we are now.
The list of judicial and procedural malpractice is a long one. There is a petition asking for the governments of three countries to examine it. Read it. I hope you will be shocked. You should be.
Please sign the petition – and be thankful if your daughter has led a less traumatic life.