British mum held in nightmare Dominican Republic prison forced to wear bulletproof vest after chilling death threats
Nicole Reyes, from Cardiff, has spent almost 18 months behind bars in the Caribbean after she was accused of murdering her husband Jorge in July 2012
A British mum locked up in a Dominican Republic prison has to wear a bulletproof vest to court after being subjected to a series of chilling death threats.
Nicole Reyes has spent almost 18 months behind bars in the Caribbean after she was accused of murdering her husband Jorge Quintanilla in July 2012.
Her mother Jeannette Clements told WalesOnline how her daughter must now wear the bulletproof vest and be accompanied by a half-a-dozen strong “SWAT”-style team of guards in the wake of the new security threat.
The former travel rep, who moved to the island around nine years ago, is alleged to have caused the death of her 38-year-old husband in a clash involving her Jeep and his motorbike.
She has always maintained her innocence. Nicole has remained behind bars on the island ever since and is currently in prison in the Santiago part of the island.
Jeannette, who lives with Nicole’s two children Leah, 18, and Luke, 16, in Cardiff, flew out to the island with her husband Mike last month for what was supposed to be Nicole’s trial but was also subjected to threats.
Jeannette, 62, said: “They told us we were all dead.” She said that one person shouted to them “none of you will leave this island alive”.
The hearing was adjourned after prosecution witnesses failed to attend and was rescheduled for February 4.
Jeannette said: “I really believed in the back of my mind that I would have been bringing her home with us. It was so hard that we had to fly back without her.”
Nicole was back in court on December 20 for an application to reduce her bail from the equivalent of around £75,000 but Jeannette said this was rejected.
Jeannette, who speaks to her daughter on the phone each day, said: “This time she had six SWAT men around her and she had to wear a bulletproof vest.
“She always loved that country, now she says she hates it.” She said her daughter will now have “grade A security” and has to have separate visits from some of the other prisoners because of a possible risk from visitors.
She said friends who have visited Nicole in prison have also been threatened.
Jeannette said her daughter is writing a book about what has happened and about her life in prison.
She said her daughter and son-in-law, who married in 2007, were very much in love.
They had built a life together on the island but her daughter has now lost everything.
She said: “I’ve got a couple of boxes of her stuff here from her house but that’s it. She’s lost everything. She spent loads on the house over there. When she comes home, she’ll just have the clothes she’ll be standing in.”
Jeannette said her daughter’s health is getting worse.
She said Nicole has kidney stones and infections in her throat, chest and ear as well as an ongoing problem of bacteria in her stomach.
Jeannette and her family are trying to raise the bail money so they can get Nicole to a private health clinic but have only raised around GBP2,300 so far.
She said: “They [the Foreign and Commonwealth Office] said they’re going to help and maybe they are but right throughout this ordeal I’ve felt so alone, not regarding my family, but from elsewhere.
“I totally understand that they can’t interfere with human rights but is it human that she is this ill in prison? Is she getting a fair trial? Is it fair that she was held there illegally?”
She added: “There’s no evidence against her whatsoever. They [the Foreign and Commonwealth Office] say they can’t interfere with the judicial system but they could be asking questions.”
Jeannette and her husband Mike have also been supporting Leah who gave birth to baby Antonio, who Nicole has never met, in August.
Jeanette added: “I keep going because I’m going to fight till I get her home and I want her home.”
An account has been set up with the Principality Building Society for donations towards Nicole’s bail.
The account number is 90653535, sort code is 20-18-15 and reference number is 144464908 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: “We are aware that a British national, Nicole Reyes, was charged in July 2012 and has since been held in detention pending trial.
“We have been providing consular assistance to Ms Reyes and her family since her detention and we continue to do so. FCO officials met with Stephen Doughty MP and Ms Reyes’ parents to discuss the case.
“We cannot interfere in the judicial process of another country, and must respect their systems.”
Category: DR News |