Delve into an engaging account of Coco’s journey and the underlying truth of the Indian judicial system. Be a part of Coco’s transformational voyage.
Returning to my motherland seemed nearly impossible. However, with genuine intentions and a strong will to succeed, as they say, everything falls in place.
The irony of returning on Thanksgiving was not lost and I’m so blessed to be back in the good old U.S.A. I celebrated my first holiday in a long time with my family and friends at home. After so many years, I saw my parents, friends, and sisters who have helped and supported me. I am indebted to the Superintendent of Police, who officially deported me, stamping my visa with a huge X never able to return to India.
Despite the dismay, I left many good memories, including my pets, a few wonderful friends, and my organization. I am extremely grateful that my legal team stood by me throughout the stormy times.
It was a difficult four-day journey back home dotted with delays, unpleasant interactions with immigration officers, four tweets to the Ministry of External Affairs, and two phone calls to the Embassy. But in the end I made it- flying with seven pieces of luggage. I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my life.
Rampant injustices and human rights violations are real and happen everyday, not only in India. We must act today to demand justice for individuals who have endured injustice at the hands of the atrocious judicial system.
Pink Nails in Jail is a first-hand account of my experience of the Indian judicial system. It also serves as a platform to raise awareness about the negligence of the governments – that must be addressed at the earliest – to ensure that all people, regardless of color, gender, ethnicity, or cultural background, are entitled to practice their fundamental human rights.
My experience is not restricted to India. Human rights violations are prevalent worldwide– domestic violence against women and children, glass ceiling, gender pay gap, economic and cultural segregation, corruption, and power imbalance – are typical forms of violations.
On May 13, 2016, The Indian Express published an article highlighting Coco’s ill health and how she received medical aid at prison. Her friends claimed that she had been suffering from various medical issues, and her health deteriorated over time in prison.
The international war on drug crimes
Surviving The Darkest Days
Pink Nails in Jail contains snippets from Coco’s journal to provide insight into the anguish she faced every day. She survived against all odds – thanks to her resilience, determination, and courage. Coco states, “they would demean and humiliate me, but I would not let them break my spirit”.
Let her come home.!
Zahra Marwan, Coco’s friend, created a painting titled “Let her Come Home” to encourage her release from India. The artwork was shared on Facebook to help spread the word about her experience. During her time in India, before she was arrested, she founded an N.G.O. for women’s health in India.
Allow Her To Return Home
When Coco eventually returned home to the United States, Zahra Marwan created another painting in her honor.
Why the legal system has failed, and how to repair it?
“People are languishing behind bars, poor litigants.” His voice shook slightly. “In the spirit of growth and advancement, I urge you,” he said to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “to rise to the occasion and recognize that criticizing is not enough.”
The poor and weak of society struggle for survival daily, and they look to those who have promised them justice. Many under-trial convicts are imprisoned for lengthy periods, even in negligible criminal cases, because they cannot afford to present bonds to be released on bail.
Pink Nails in Jail is a first-hand account about how I, an American woman, spent two years in an Indian jail for crimes I did not commit. I got caught up in a dangerous plan that put me against India’s authoritarian, utilitarian, and corrupt judicial system. I was subjected to severe physical and emotional suffering that affected my mental health. My memoir, which highlights how my noble intentions turned into a high-profile case in a small Indian jail, may be described as a mash up of Slum Dog Millionaire and Sex in the City.
My experiences are a collection of comedy of horrors that began with my desire to help underprivileged mothers and children – who have no access to basic health facilities – in India. It all started with a job in the healthcare sector, with a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of the poor. This narrative depicts courage, resilience, tenacity, and a determination to survive in the face of horrific tragedy and injustice—a never-ending struggle to reclaim peace and self-love. My story touches on women’s health, gender inequality, and various prevailing human rights issues.
Coco worked as a director of a pharmaceutical manufacturing company for three months in 2012. During her tenure, the pharmaceutical manufacturing firm produced pseudoephedrine-based drugs to treat the common cold and flu. In 2015, the Narcotic Agency alleged that the business had tempered with the pseudoephedrine medications. The officials deceived the public and the judiciary into believing she was allegedly involved in an international drug trade spanning India and Myanmar.
The officials were asked to launch an inquiry into the matter but to no avail. To make things worse, they made it into a large-scale drug ring managed by an American woman who used the nonprofit organization to pursue her vested interests.
Coco graduated with a Masters in Public Health from the American University of Beirut (2011). She lived in India for six years (2011-2017). She co-founded the N.G.O. Bella Health Care in Dehradun, India (bellahealth.org).
Coco is not a legal, human rights, or jail reform scholar, but she has learned much through her experiences in India. She is committed to supporting women’s health and education, particularly reproductive and adolescent health. Over 100,000 women and adolescents have benefited from her revolutionary initiatives.
Preeti, my good companion, kept me sane during the nine months we shared a barrack. She was the only other female who could communicate in English.
Deportation to the United States
On November 17, 2017, Coco Smith was deported to the United States from India. It had been eight months since she was released from jail.
In The Loving Memory Of Poonam & Meenakshi: You Left Us Too Soon!
Poonam (left) died while I was in jail. I never got to say goodbye. She was the most passionate and loving woman I’d ever met. She will always be in my heart and will be missed by many. Her legacy lives on.
Meenakshi was on trial at the same time as I was, succumbed to T.B., meningitis, and malaria, and died young at 22.
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