October 16, 2005 08:57pm
Fred Salaff Still Under Preventive Detention In Panama
Source: Letters to the Editor
by: Fred Salaff
Dear friends and supporters,
As you may know Stefano Simone and I are out of the miserable jails of Panama but are still under detention. We are not free to leave the country. The government still maintains that the crime of "corruption of minors" occurred in the house where I lived in Veracruz, Panama.
We are getting closer to some kind of resolution to the case but are not sure that it will go in the right direction. The prosecutor feels that someone has to pay for the trouble caused to Panama since last January, over 6,000 pages of investigations, interviews, declarations, etc! We feel that the harassment and mental pressure is part of the master plan to save face because no one in Panama thinks the government has any case at all! Our story now appears all over the world as a gross travesty of justice. Just type in Fred Salaff in any search engine to see the reaction in the world press and wire services.
Stefano and I have to travel to Chorrera weekly to sign in at the prosecutor's office and we have to make frequent visits to the Immigration office. My lawyer, Eugenio Morice is doing a brilliant job in handling the absolute stupidity of the charges. He says that it is a lot harder to fight nonsense than real legal issues. We are actors in the theater of the absurd. In prison I reread Kafka's booth, "The Trial" and find that although the book was written about 90 years ago it describes our predicament precisely. We don't really know the reason why we were arrested in the first place. We do know that children tried to peek into the grounds of my house from surrounding trees and through cracks in the walls. They were never invited to do this and I took every precaution to keep prying eyes away.
All the others in the case - the director, photographer and the actors have been freed and returned to Europe. Their large legal fees were paid by Devils Films, for whom the video was being shot. My role was to rent my house and provide the talent. Devils Films was my client and had been for many years but they refused to pay one cent for my legal defense which is now more than $51,000. Mike Rubenstein, the owner of Devils claimed that he did not support me because of what my friends said on my website about him. However, the website did not start until weeks after my arrest and he refused to help or even take my phone calls from prison from the very beginning.
Just surviving from day to day is a task which befuddles the mind. We are officially not allowed to work, although we have been able to get some consulting internet work. Without this and the contributions we receive from friends like you we would be living in the streets of Panama.
We are hoping that the case finally goes away in a month, but there are no guarantees. This is Latin America and everything moves agonizingly slow! The government does not seem to care about us. I have not been able to see my wife since early last January. She is Cuban and still lives in Cuba. The Panamanian government punishes me by not giving her a visa to be with me.
I am forced to use precious and scarce financial resources just to call her. Medications which I need can't be purchased because I just don't have the money.
If you can continue to contribute, no matter how small your generosity will always be remembered! Please just go to FredSalaff.com and find the link to PayPal. Every penny counts! For those who can only send checks please make them out to Frederick Salaff and send to: Suite 5039 Apartado 0832-1276 WTC Panam City, Panama
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
The FJS Group