Writers in Prison

Writers in Prison - Jose Gallardo Rodriguez

Since 1993, Brigadier General Jose Gallardo RodrIguez has been imprisoned in Mexico. Author of a thesis, "The Need for a Military Ombudsman in Mexico", he was sentenced to 28 years and eight months for "misappropriating government property and destruction of military archives", as well as "illegal profiteering".

In 1996, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) of the Organisation of American States declared that Gallardo had been imprisoned "without reason and legal justification", and should be released. Astonishingly, the Mexican Supreme Court concurred. Nothing happened.

Earlier this year, Gallardo - a recipient of the Don Sergio Mendez Arceo National Human Rights Award - took his case to the courts. In an unprecedented ruling, the tribunal ordered a district judge to allow Gallardo's appeal. In theory, President Vicente Fox and other state officials must now produce evidence to justify holding him. Outcome awaited.

The novelist Lee Langley is a member of the PEN Writers in Prison Committee