Mexican trial begins in Malaysia
The three brothers, Jose Regino, Simon and Luis Alfonso, were arrested outside a meth lab in southern Malaysia
CULIACAN, The eyes of Dona Carmen Espinoza Villarreal overflowing with tears and his voice cracks when he starts talking about his children, Jose Regino, Simon and Luis Alfonso Gonzalez Villarreal, imprisoned since March 2008 in Malaysia, accused of trafficking and possession of methamphetamine and if found guilty will face the gallows.
In Malaysia, Article 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act states that anyone in possession of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine is considered a drug dealer and no exception is entitled to the death penalty.
Brothers trial begins this week.
“These years have been very hard, very hard,” sobs Carmen Villarreal, 68, while in the distance you hear the crowing of cocks in full later in the Lomas de Rodriguera, a shanty north of Culiacan where poverty and violence are a thing of every day.
Hector Gonzalez, the father of 68, you have to shout to be heard.
“We are sad”
“Well here as the saying goes, we are sad with the situation we have. We are just outstanding, with little hope, there are waiting,” he says in a voice full of melancholy slow.
Recent years have been the most difficult for Villarreal and Gonzalez and the eight children they have left. A year ago the arrest of the three brothers in Malaysia, had lost a 25 year old son in an assault.
Villarreal remembers the departure of their children in mid-February 2008. “They did not say anything, just came out. We were told that for Mother’s Day would be with us, but we got the news that they had stopped.”
The three brothers, Jose Regino, 33, Simon 36 and Luis Alfonso 46, did not fulfill the promise because they were arrested outside a meth lab in the city of Johor Bahru in southern Malaysia, almost on the border with Singapore. There police found 60 pounds of methamphetamine whose market value is estimated at $ 15 million. According to the family, had no idea where their children. They had never heard of Malaysia.
But what I do believe is that poverty forced them to leave and go to Malaysia Culiacan. “They were tired of the brick (the business that has been the breadwinner) of the daily routine, start working from 4 am,” says Sophie Gonzalez, sister of the young prisoners.
“Just out to eat. The work is very heavy, is not seen the future and waist hurts,” adds the father.
The hardest thing for the family has been the country’s remoteness and lack of money to travel there to see the brothers, but also not knowing English and even the little information they have on the case, which often become aware of what is published in the press.
Consuelo Soto, wife of Luis Alfonso, communicate with defense counsel Kitson Foong, through a nephew who is in Los Angeles and speaks English.
It is she who in turn informs the rest of the family of the situation of the trio of brothers. They also know of them by the letters they receive about every three months.
“We give them encouragement in letters, scold them, tell them to beware, do not be sad,” says Sophie.
“They do not count for much, do not want to upset our parents who are sick of heart and sugar,” says Sophie. The children have told him not to Hector, the father, Regino, the youngest brother, is sick of the kidneys in prison and is urinating blood.
“The Embassy of Mexico in Malaysia we sent for medical records to see if Jose Regino,” says Sophie worried.
Defense attorney Kitson Foong announced Regino La Opinión that in addition to being sick of the kidneys, was just diagnosed with tuberculosis. “It looks very bad, has lost much weight, is very listless, and the other brothers are very concerned,” said the lawyer from Kuala Lumpur who works without fee to keep the Gonzalez brothers are sentenced to death.
Despair to the remote
In the three years that the brothers are prisoners, and Leticia Gonzalez Alexandrina have been able to travel twice to Kuala Lumpur with money making collections gathered in the streets of Culiacan. “It’s a desperation, reaches a court, and we would go, but even if we had for the ticket that costs 33.000 pesos, how will we do with the hotel and food expenses,” Alexandrina questions.
In Malaysia, Article 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act states that anyone in possession of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine is considered a drug dealer and no exception is entitled to the death penalty, so if the brothers are found guilty will be sentenced to the gallows.
“My brothers do not deserve it,” exclaims Leticia.
“That is very drastic, but in our poverty, not speaking English, we will not leave our brothers alone and we will emphasize to Foreign Affairs for help. Good for the President who wants to fight the drug, but that does not mean they are going to give the death penalty to my brothers, “he emphasizes Alexandrina in tears.
In a telephone interview, on his way to the federal maximum security prison Fethiye to see the brothers, said the trial is pending to begin this week. It Is expected to begin on Wednesday 8th to Friday 10th of February.
Mohamed Zawawi will be the judge, known in Malaysia as the “Judge Soga” for sending to the gallows over 100 individuals, who will issue the ruling. During the trial the brothers will have to give their testimony.
Do not give up
“I keep hope but I’m not very optimistic. This judge has a history in favor of the death penalty, so my hopes to win the case in the Court of Appeals, but not with this judge,” he said.
“A judge must rely on the facts: two thirds of the methamphetamine seized disappeared and materials found were altered and changed. A judge should not make assumptions based on some connections with some of the boys’ cartel in Mexico as it has done in the court only by what he saw on the news of that country in a war with drug traffickers, “he says.
Foong said the brothers are nervous about the proximity of the trial.
“They are well aware that there is little hope to the ‘Judge Soga’ but have confidence in the Court of Appeals,” he concluded