The brothers and sisters of Ghislaine Maxwell filed a complaint today with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding the arbitrary detention of their sister, imprisoned in the USA since July 2, 2020.
In their petition, François Zimeray and Jessica Finelle describe in detail the numerous violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by the United States of America, and of the “UN Mandela Rules”2 on the Treatment of Prisoners”.
This step is independent of the defence on the merits, overseen by Ms Maxwell’s US Counsel. It does not address the issue of the allegations, or of innocence or guilt but focuses exclusively on the conditions under which Ms Maxwell is being prosecuted and detained. It raises the question of whether Ms. Maxwell can receive a fair trial, which presupposes that she is able to benefit from the presumption of innocence prior to judgement and exercise her rights on an equal footing with the prosecution. Beyond Ms Maxwell’s particular situation, her case calls out for a much needed reflection on the increasing difficulty of being able to reach impartial judgements when defendants appearing before the courts are not only having to bear the weight of what they have been charged with but also the burden of media prejudice.
The petition filed to the UN is available on demand.