Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fichter Fight Continues

By Stephen Wilson

Former Florida high school teacher sits in prison for a 22 year sentence for having sex with her 17-year-old students.

(Moscow, Russia) -- 'Take the next step to victory! You signed the petition five days ago but can you you help us collect 75,000 signatures by creating your own petition,' declares the sincere and anxious appeal of the Russians and Americans fighting for the release of a 30-year-old American teacher Jennifer Fichter, who was sentenced to 22 years
in jail for illicit sex with her pupils (on 37 indictments).

               Those who have signed the petition are being asked to utilise facebook, twitter and all the possible means of gathering signatures.

               The organisation,, is the brainchild of publicity genius Dennis Shiryav, who on July 2015 managed to obtain the signatures of 40,000 people, and at present have managed to amass just over 66,800. They require much more signatures to force the American authorities to grant a judicial review.

                What is clear is that the organisers have proved indefatigable in relentlessly pursuing this campaign and deserve to win.

                Jennifer Fichter was jailed for 22 years on charges of illicitly having sex with some of her students who were aged around 17 years of age. The teacher was arrested in April 2014, after a mother of one of her students came across an SMS to her son, and called the police.

                One of the most ludicrous accusations made again her was that she was 'a kidnapper'.

                The case gathered International headlines because in the vast majority of cases, being dismissed from her job would be regarded as sufficient punishment. It is no exaggeration to state that this, and many other legal cases, has stained the reputation of America's legal system all over the world.  Fewer people take the American legal system seriously and some reassure themselves 'Thank God our legal system is not like the American system.'

                What has really made people indignant is that a deranged fascist in Norway received a lesser sentence of 21 years for murdering 77 people and wounding 151 people. While the Norwegian system seems to laid back and lenient,  the American system appears too zero - intolerant.

                The response to the harsh sentence of Jennifer Fichter has brought a wide range of curious responses. As expected, the media interest focuses on the lurid and titillating aspects of the case rather than the more crucial aspects of whether justice is being served. As far as the media goes; sex sells. The Fichter case represents an intriguing story rather than a cause for release.

                For some insensitive people the case is merely amusing, for others it is irrelevant and it has left many more scratching their heads asking - 'Could this have really happened in America?'

                 A Journal called Vzglyad, carried out a survey on the Fichter case. They found that 34% of those polled considered her guilty but did not deserve a jail sentence, 22% did not see a problem with the teacher having sex
with students, 26.5 % deemed the teacher guilty, but the sentence, excessive. A mere 3.7% of those polled think the sentence is adequate.

                 A Russian teacher from school number 315, Lubov Pontak stated:

                'Teachers don't have the right to sexual contact with students but 22 years in prison is too harsh. It does not matter what age the students are ... I would sack the teacher.'

                 Another teacher, of school number 1543, Aleksi Kutnetsov, stated:

                "This is a repressive sentence, basely cruel and extremely hypocritical.

                 A country which legally allows same sex marriage doesn't have the moral right to strictly judge those who conduct a normal sex life.'

                 Most Russian teachers I spoke to think that teachers have to maintain a distance from their students and think a teacher should be dismissed rather than imprisoned for illicit sex.

                 This view is a far cry from some Russians who regard Fichter as a martyr who simply initiated her inexperienced students into a much required 'life experience'. Those supporters consider Fichter deserves a medal rather than imprisonment.

                 One thing is certain. The campaigners for Fichter's release are determined to see this fight to the very end. They are aware that as time goes on, supporters might become too complacent and the fight might lose its momentum. This is why it is important to keep fighting regardless whether the campaign attracts or loses the interest of the media.

                 Some people are cynical and refuse to sign the petition because they say, "It won't make any difference". This view is mistaken.

                 The history of organisations such as Amnesty International and other pressure groups which campaign for the release of unfairly convicted prisoners discovered that, gathered petitions do make a difference, and have helped secure the release of prisoners. It is not all in vain!  Anyone who thinks that he can get signatures should go ahead. Don't be cynical or complacent!

To learn more you can visit the Free Jennifer Fichter facebook page.

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