Friday, 18 February 2011

Presumed Guilty: A Look At Mexican 'Justice'

 Antonio Zuñiga 

In Presumed Guilty, Geoffery Smith and Roberto Hernandes selected 90 minutes from about 350 hours of filming of the case of Antonio Zuñiga who was accused of murder. Picked up from the streets on December 12, 2005, the 26-year-old was framed for murder. In prison, he contacted Layda Negrete and Hernandez, two young lawyers, to defend him.

Unusually, the two lawyers who had made another short film called the Tunnel which secured the release of their client, took the camera as a key witness throughout two years of appeal and finally managed to overturn Zuñiga’s conviction, laying bare what they call the complex and byzantine world of Mexico’s judicial system. The film also records how Zuñiga changed from being just another prisoner to a protagonist of his moral transformation.The victim's family are unhappy with the documentary, saying their side of the story has not been told.

The film is being screened in 120 theatres in Mexico. In Mexico, the presumption is of guilt and the prisons are crammed with people who have very little hope of making it out. Hernandez and Negrete did the filming while Smith structured the documentary.

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