|03-10-2005, 12:52 PM||#1|
Joined: Apr 2002
Location: Florida & Andes Mountains
Pancho vs motorcyclist
Attorneys demand due process for Pacho the burro
Wed Mar 9, 6:23 PM ET Offbeat - AFP
BOGOTA (AFP) - A burro named Pacho, held by police for three days after being involved in an accident with a drunken motorcyclist, unleashed a virulent debate in Colombia over the rights of animals to due process of law.
After an arduous day pulling a cart through the streets of provincial capital Arauca, Pacho was hauled in by police Sunday night after the crash, the daily El Tiempo reported Wednesday.
Owner Nelson Gonzalez, 50, insisted his burro was innocent, arguing that the cart was in the dark because of a blackout at the time.
The motorcyclist was sent to the hospital with serious injuries after the accident. Pacho's cart was wrecked, and the burro sustained injuries to his snout and front leg.
"We did not run over anything, and the only thing that we did do was to assist to the man that hit the cart" Gonzalez told the police.
When police arrested the donkey, and not his master, Arauca human rights defender Alvaro Merchan took up the animal's defense, turning the case into a national debate over animal rights.
"They are violating a burro's right to due process," said Merchan. The lawyer complained that Pacho, who was held at the fire station, had not been confined in an appropriate environment or put under the competent legal supervision.
Commercial and civil law expert Carlos Mauricio Serrano called the animal's treatment harsh, because Pacho was not a wild animal and represented no danger to society, said El Tiempo.
Gonzalez said that visits were hard. "He is very sad when he sees me and begins to bray, like he is telling me he is innocent and asking me to get him out of this place which is not his home."
The case' blow-up had happy results.
The public outcry led to the attorney general ordering Pacho's freedom. He soon returned to his daily labors, transporting old junk through the streets of Arauca.
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