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Release of Indigenous Yaqui Leader Ordered for Lack of Evidence

Release of Indigenous Yaqui Leader Ordered for Lack of Evidence

Fernando Camacho Servín

La Jornada, 7th April, 2015

Fernando Jiménez, representative of the Yaqui tribe imprisoned for seven months, was notified on Tuesday of the favourable ruling regarding his amparo [petition for protection, i.e., appeal] in which the Third Judge in Criminal Matters issued an order for his release due to lack of evidence to prosecute him, social organizations reported.

In a statement, the organizations said that this court decision, which recognized the human rights violations suffered by Jimenez in the issuing of the arrest warrant, is “a breakthrough that should set him free in the coming hours.”

The group of organizations recalled that in September 2014 Mario Luna and Fernando Jiménez, representatives of the Yaqu tribe, were arrested by the Sonora state government, headed by Governor Guillermo Padres, and “subjected to an irregular legal proceeding and imprisoned for crimes for which there is no legal basis.”

They also stressed that “Mario and Fernando have been active in the defence of the tribe in response to the construction and irregular operation of the Independence Aqueduct, which is extracting water from the Yaqui River, seriously jeopardizing the survival of the tribe.”

Similarly, they also recalled that in January 2015 Mario Luna Romero was notified of a favourable ruling on his amparo, which recognized that the warrant issued for his arrest did not consider the exculpatory evidence that the defence provided.

However, the Attorney General of Sonora “decided to appeal the ruling that protects Mario Luna, thereby delaying the time for him to be released. It is unfortunate that the Sonora Attorney General has made political use of government ​​institutions to keep him in jail.”

Given these antecedents, the social organizations made ​​an appeal to the public prosecutor following the case and the Attorney General of the state of Sonora to adopt an approach favourable to the defendant and seek the release of the Yaqui spokesmen, as well as that the judicial authorities be prompt and expeditious in their actions, as mandated by the law.

“Neither Fernando Jiménez nor Mario Luna ought to remain in jail one more day. They are innocent of the crime for which they are accused and two federal judges have decided in their favour,” they stressed.

Translated by Reed Brundage