Drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is languishing in a Mexican prison - perhaps to be extradited to the US. His former beauty queen wife says he's such a nice man and doesn't understand why he is being vilified.
The former beauty queen wife of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman says she has no proof her husband is a drug kingpin, and blames the Mexican government for turning him into the world's most wanted criminal.
Emma Coronel, 26, told US Spanish-language TV station Telemundo on Sunday that her husband is an intelligent and caring man.
"The Mexican government made sure to portray Joaquin Guzman as the world's most wanted kingpin - that doesn't mean that he turned into the world's most wanted kingpin," said Coronel.
"I don't know if they did it on purpose or to cover up more important things, because the things they are bringing out and saying [seem] highly exaggerated," she said, adding, "I have no knowledge that he trafficked in drugs."
Coronel adds that stories of Guzman's barbarity mystify her.
"I don't know where they get that he is bloodthirsty, even a rapist," she said. "It seems very unjust to be saying such outrageous things about him."
Everything being said about Guzman "are mere suppositions, because he has not been judged or sentenced," she said.
Tried and convicted
On the contrary, in 1993, he was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison on charges of drug trafficking, criminal association and bribery. He spent eight years in prison before escaping and spending the next 13 years as arguably Mexico's most wanted fugitive until he was rearrested in 2014.
Coronel married Guzman, 61, in 2007, on her 18th birthday. She subsequently gave birth to twin daughters in the United States, so they would have dual US-Mexican citizenship, as does Coronel.
She accuses prison authorities of mistreating her husband in prison as payback for embarrassing the government by escaping last year.
"They don't let him sleep, he has no privacy to go to the bathroom," she said. "They don't even let him go walk in the patio."
Guzman's lawyer Juan Pablo Badillo echoed her claim, saying guards wake up Guzman every two hours, and have cameras on their helmets.
"He said 'what I want is for them to let me sleep. They are making me into a Zombie,' " Badillo quoted Guzman as saying.
Another of Guzman's lawyers, Jose Refugio Rodriguez, says the drug kingpin still wants a planned movie about his life - to tell the truth, as Guzman sees it - to go ahead.
"He wants it to be done," Rodriguez said. "And he told me Monday that the movie has to go forward."
bik/jil (AFP, AP)