Irish Woman Jailed in Ecuador in Release Plea

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Roisin Zoe Savage,30, jailed on drug charges in Ecuador in 2004 has been given a chance for freedom by applying for a Presidential Pardon using a controversial Italian lawyer, Giovanni Di Stefano, famous for representing Saddam Hussein, Milosevic and Tariq Aziz. Giovanni Di Stefano has filed an application under Art.171 (20) of the Constitution of Ecuador seeking the President Palacio's intervention.

issued any form of pardon

Giovanni Di Stefano, the international lawyer currently representing Tariq Aziz and other 'celebrities in trouble', has come to the aid of Roisin Zoe Savage an Irish citizen jailed in Ecuador in 2004 for drug charges. Di Stefano said: " Art.171 (20) confers upon President Palacio or in fact any other President of Ecuador the supreme powers of clemency. This is the very case upon which it should, perhaps must, be used."

In an application filed on Friday 25th August 2006 direct to President Palacio, Mr Di Stefano informed the Ecuadorian President of the plight of his client and of her mother who is terminally ill in Dublin.

President Palacio, a surgeon with a perfect command of the English language, is expected to rule on the application shortly.

A leading law firm in Quito has been engaged by Di Stefano to assist in general matters and has stated that in the past 25 years no President of Ecuador has ever "issued any form of pardon" or used the powers. Mr Di Stefano however, stated that the reason no President ever issued a pardon is that noone has ever applied.

"No Ecuadorian President has ever been requested in the past 25 years a pardon or remission of sentence. When I spoke to Zoe Savage she and other inmates had never even heard of such powers. The Republic of Ecuador has quite properly aligned itself to the policies of the United States of America. As we all know many have benefited in the US from the Presidential Pardon. Nixon, Weinberger to name but two. Surely Zoe Savage a mother of two young children and a dying mother after having spent three and a half years qualifies. I have asked the President to apply compassion. I am cautiously confident he will," said Di Stefano.

Zoe Savage speaking from El Inca Prison where she has been held since 2003 said that the intervention of Di Stefano was like "a dream come true" and that "after three and a half years of inertia hope my dream of being reunited with my children and my mother come true.

"I am not bitter with the Ecuadorian Government or the justice system. They did their job according to their rules. I am innocent of the charges and I know that my friend planted drugs in my bag. But he fled and the police found them sewn in a bag that my friend had bought for me. I now just want to go home and feel no anger at all against the government of Ecuador," said Zoe Savage.

Di Stefano has also stated in his application that Ecuador may well be in violation of a number of treaties they signed respecting human rights and especially the question of retrospective legislation. "If Ms Savage had the law, as it used to be in 2003 and 2004, applied she would be released already. But what the Government of Ecuador have done is in 2005 abolish parole or any form of remission on a sentence. I am of the view that it should not apply retrospectively and have told President Palacio so."

Di Stefano said he would travel to Ecuador soon and would pay for the flight of Zoe Savage to Dublin thus avoiding any expense upon the Government of Ecuador.

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