The Pavel Kulisek case : jailed without justice

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. 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 defence.

In early 2007 Pavel and Jirina Kulisek, decided to spend more time with their two daughters, Annie and Isabella, after having worked hard in the construction industry in Vancouver for more than 10 years. They decided to buy a small motor home and head for Mexico. While there they bought a small house in Los Barriles.

Having made earlier plans to visit Czech, where the family lives and travel through Europe for a few months with the children, they returned to Vancouver, traveled to Europe and returned again to Vancouver in September that year. By October they were back in Los Barriles. During their travels they had rented their Vancouver and Los Barriles homes.

Los Barriles is a small town, where a lot of Americans and Canadians spend either the whole year or parts of the year. The small house they bought, needed repairs and upgrades which of course, Pavel and Jirina did themselves. The children were enrolled in the local school and they made new friends with the people living nearby.

Friends from Vancouver, visited in November, December, 2007 and January, 2008 while Pavel got involved with some of the locals in dirt bike racing; his favourite way of relaxing. Through his enthousiasm for dirt biking, he was introduced to Carlos Herrera, a local contractor and real estate guy who came originally from Alaska. The first time Pavel met Carlos was before a major race in mid December.

Since real estate was booming in the area and Pavel wanted to be semi busy, he and another Canadian enrolled in a real estate course. They spend one weekend away from home, doing this course. Having a good time, with the children, friends from Vancouver and the new friends they made in Los Barriles,became their daily live. And of course, Pavel enjoyed his dirt biking.

On March 11, 2008 at the end of a birthday party with Canadian friends, Pavel got a telephone call from Carlos, to join them at the local hot dog stand for a beer. He really did not want to go, but since he owed Marcos (one of Carlos’s helpers and a former cop) some money for materials he supplied for the reno of the house, he decided to go over for a quick beer and pay his debt to Marcos. He left his cell phone at home that night.

Shortly after, Pavel, Carlos, Marcos and Antonio were arrested at the hot dog stand by Federal agents. Pavel and the other three men were flown to Mexico city where Pavel was held in house arrest for three months. After that time he was send to the high security prison Puente Grande in Guadalajara. At the time of his arrest, he did not know that Carlos was a major drug cartel member and that Marcos (a twice convicted former cop) was let go after a few days and is now a protected witness for the prosecution.

Pavel has been charged with, 1) being a member of an organized crime organization and, b) being a drug trafficker. Either of these charges can result in a maximum 20 year prison sentence. During the Amparo process the 2nd charge was dropped. The final Amparo appeals review took place in early November, 2010 and the charge of being a member of an organized crime organization was upheld.

The regular judicial process continued with a request fro closure by Pavel’s lawyer. This request was appealed by the Ministerio Publico which resulted in a further delay of 3 months, after which the same Ministerio Publico came up with a list of technicalities that had to be resolved by the court. As a result, of these manipulations by the Ministerio Publico, a further delay of 3 or 4 months ensued.

In mid February Pavel was told by the Canadian Ambassador in Mexico City, not to expect anything to happen for another 6 to 8 months. Pavel’s lawyer confirmed this delay of action in the weekend of March 12/13, 2011. On March 13, Pavel tried to hang himself in his cell in Puente Grande. His effort to kill himself failed because the prison authorities found him in time.

In the weekend of March 19/20, 2011, Pavel was transferred to the psychiatric facility in Morelos, where he remains till today. After the appeal of the closure request was resolved and obviously the technicalities were removed by the court, Pavel’s lawyer asked for separation in June, 2011. In July, 2011 we were informed through the Consular Affairs Dept. that the Ministerio Publico once again had appealed the request for separation, probably resulting in another 3 months delay.

At the present time, mid August 2011, the case seems to be in limbo; taking into account, that we have not been able to communicate with Pavel’s second lawyer who he appointed himself in early 2010, since the day of his hiring, our only (reluctant) source of information is Consular Affairs in Ottawa.

Not knowing the complete contents of the paper files on the day of the closure, makes it impossible to predict what may happen next. It is our understanding, that the Ministerio Publico appeal of the separation request will eventually run its course and the later this Fall or early 2012, the final meeting (trial) will take place.

In the meantime we are working with our own lawyers to get a handle not only on the contents of the case files, but on the case itself. Once we have a complete overview of the case, we can make decisions on how to move forward through the
appeals process and a possible Amparo. Jirina’s own story about what happened during that time from early 2007 to March 11, 2008 can be found on or on the open salon blog

Letters supporting her story, which make it clear, that Pavel never was even remotely involved in the Mexican drug business, are available on request.

The question that has never been asked by the Politicians in Ottawa, the Canadian Media, and the populace of this country is, how a Canadian, who does not speak Spanish, becomes a major participant in a Mexican drug cartel in the less then 3 months he knew Carlos!

As for justice, there is no justice in Mexico; the documentaries the Tunnel and Presumed Guilty have made that clear to everybody but the Canadian Government officials who insist that justice in Mexico, where no justice is possible, has to run its course.

As of today, August 14, 2011, Pavel has spent 1,251 days in his prison cell in Puente Grande and Morelos.

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