News Around the Republic of Mexico
|Mexico's Supreme Court Orders Release of 12 Involved in Violent 2006 Protest|
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July 01, 2010
Mexico City — Mexico's Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned the convictions of 12 leaders and other participants in a violent 2006 protest during which leftist demonstrators took over a town and battled police.
The court cited insufficient evidence as the reason for nullifying the men's kidnapping sentences, which ranged from 31 to 112 years in prison.
"Authorities based the case on false and weak suppositions," the court wrote in a statement released to the media. "They charged the defendants simply for the fact they were at the scene of the events."
The court said the men would be released within hours of ruling.
"I cannot deny that I feel a little happy," said Maria Trinidad Ramirez, wife of Ignacio del Valle, the protest leader who had been given the longest sentence. "I am going to be able to see Ignacio, and see the rest of my comrades free. We won!"
The protesters were part of a leftist farmers movement that arose in 2002 to oppose the government's plan to expropriate land to build an airport in the town of San Salvador Atenco, on the outskirts of Mexico City.
After the government backed down and dropped the airport plan, the movement took up other causes. When flower vendors were expelled from a local market, protesters overpowered and held some police officers during a May 2006 riot.
Police retook the town but used excessive force, the Supreme Court found in a 2008 investigation.