UK Woman Held in Dominican Prison for Seven Months without Charge (UPDATE)

ibtimes.co.uk - A woman from Cardiff has been in jail in the Dominican Republic for seven months without charge.

Nicola Reyes, 37, is being held for the murder of her husband ,Jorge, who died after his motorbike collided with the car she was driving.

Originally from Rumney, Reyes moved to the Dominican Republic with her husband, who is a Dominican national, 10 years ago.

Jorge was riding his motorbike alongside Nicola in her 4x4. They were driving along a dark road when approaching vehicles caused her to swerve, knocking over his bike.

Reyes' mother Jeannette Clements, speaking to ITV, said: "She jumped out of the vehicle calling for him. She could see his bike and then she realised he was under the jeep."

Her family believe that Reyes will not be given a fair trial and said she was being held in awful conditions.

Clements said: "She was in absolute horrendous conditions in the beginning. There were people murdered there. There were people beaten there. She was in a tiny room with 15 other women.

"She slept on the floor and there was a bucket in the corner."

If found guilty, Reyes could face up to 30 years in jail. Human rights group Fair Trials International said foreigners held in the Dominican Republic are vulnerable because of inadequate prisoner care.

"Individuals arrested in the Dominican Republic may face lengthy periods of pre-trial detention in prison conditions falling far below international standards in a criminal justice system reported to be struggling with poor administration and corruption," a spokesperson said.

Never felt so alone

"Foreign nationals with little knowledge of the local language and the legal system are particularly vulnerable to breaches of their basic rights to a fair trial."

Reyes' daughter Leah said she spoke to her mother every day but the calls were always distressing: "When you've got to say bye to her and know she's going to be a mess, it's horrible.

"All I want and all my brother wants is my mum to be here."

Speaking from Jail, Reyes told ITV: "As fast as you break down one brick wall, another one is built in front of you.

"It's very difficult, I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel, and right now I'm feeling I'm struggling.

"I've not got a lot of strength to keep going. It is very difficult every day talking to my family knowing that they love me and they're trying hard to fight for me.

"I'm here, and I've never in my life felt so alone."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it is providing consular assistance.


'She's lost everything', says mother of woman held in Dominican Republic

Over the last seven months, mum Nicole Reyes has lost everything – her husband, her home and her freedom.

Locked up in jail in the Dominican Republic, where she is being held without charge, she lives for the daily phone calls to her family at home in Rumney.

She calls her parents, Jeanette and Michael Clements, several times a day – something they say is the only thing keeping her going.

But as she prepares for her eighth month in jail, Jeanette says her daughter is in a “bad way”.

Nicole, 37, was arrested in July last year on suspicion of killing her husband, Jorge, 38, when he died in a car crash.

But Jeanette said the authorities over there have not charged her.

She said: “My daughter is in a bad way, she’s very low.

Jeannette Clements, whose daughter Nicole Reyes, aged 37, is in prison in the Dominican Republic after being accused of killing her husband, Jorge Reyes

“I come off the phone and cry.

“I can’t believe she’s in that position.

“The only thing keeping her going now is ringing here.”

Nicole shares a cell with two other women in a prison in Santiago where Jeanette said there are “rats the size of cats”.

Jeanette said the prison provides her with porridge or drinking chocolate and bread each morning and rice and beans or chicken and rice.

But Jeanette said the food is “disgusting” and Nicole buys food for herself from a shop inside the prison and lives on a diet of crackers and prunes.

Jeanette said she even has to buy her own toilet roll.

For the first six weeks, Jeanette said her daughter was kept in a prison in Puerto Plata.

She said: “She saw people being beaten and people shackled against the wall on chains.”

She said the prison had no windows, that her daughter had to sleep on the floor with a bucket in the corner for a toilet.

Jeanette said they even had to send money so Nicole would be fed.

Nicole survives on the money sent to her by her parents who send every penny they have to make her life a little more bearable.

Jorge and Nicole's wedding day in the Dominican Republic in 2007.

This includes paying for Nicole’s medication, which last week cost around £150, and a doctor who recently diagnosed a series of conditions involving inflammation of the bowel.

Jeanette said: “We were told her intestine is infected with bacteria.

“She has also put on a stone in weight because her body is so swollen from the infection.”

The couple say they have spent thousands of pounds on Nicole’s legal fees as her lawyer now tries to move her case to another court because of fears of corruption.

But Jeanette said this could take months and so Nicole faces more time waiting in jail.

The couple also had to pay for security to look after Nicole’s home and the home they had bought out there.

Jeanette said: “She had three dogs and left the house that night expecting to go back there later.”

But despite paying around £600 a month for security the couple flew out in December to find both homes had been stripped of everything.

Jeanette said: “She can never go back there.

“She’s lost everything.

“Her husband, her dogs and her home.”

The couple have now sold the properties so they can use the money to help Nicole.

But they said they lost this money when the cash cheque, along with the rest of their hand luggage, was stolen from the airport and claim it was cashed in America.

“We were absolutely devastated and we were told there was nothing we could do,” Jeanette said.

Nicole met Jorge, an odd job man, after moving to the Dominican Republic with her family nine years ago.

She worked as a holiday rep for Thomas Cook and they married a year later in May 2007.

Jeanette said they were very much in love and that he idealised Nicole and her children.

“They had an amazing life and were so happy,” she said.

On the night of Jorge’s death, Jeanette said Nicole had been to visit friends at a hotel.

She said: “He was on his motorbike and she was in a Jeep.

“He was travelling in the middle of the road and she told him to get over to the other side because it was dangerous.”

She said he moved over but that some cars were coming the other way and so she slightly moved over but tipped the back end of the bike.

Jeanette said: “He’d always be laughing and joking on his motorbike.

“But he had no crash helmet on and no lights.”

She said her daughter realised he was under the Jeep and was screaming to people standing nearby for help.

But Jeanette said the culture there is not to help during an accident for fear of becoming involved or blamed.

Jeanette said Nicole hasn’t even had the chance to grieve for her husband.

She said: “All she keeps saying is I want to come out and grieve for him.

“If he was alive he would go crazy about the way she’s been treated.

“He idealised her and he loved the children.”

Jeanette and Michael are now appealing for help in trying to get their daughter back to the UK.

Jeanette said: “I want to do anything I possibly can to get my daughter out of the conditions she’s in.”

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of the detention of a British national in the connection with the death of a Dominican national.

“Ms Reyes has lawyers working on her behalf and the case is continuing.


Read more: Wales Online http://www.walesonline.co.uk/cardiffonline/cardiff-news/2013/02/23/she-s-lost-everything-says-mother-of-woman-held-in-dominican-republic-91466-32862451/#ixzz2M1GLxCeh

 

UPDATE -

Cardiff Mum Nicole Reyes' Family Desperate to Meet Blood Money Deadline

Go back | Date: 09 Apr 2013
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