Mexican court orders release of Purépecha leaders | News

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The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) of Mexico ordered this Thursday the release of the Purépecha leaders of Michoacán José Antonio Arreola Jiménez, José Luis Jiménez Meza and José Gerardo Talavera Pineda, who three years ago were accused of sabotage.


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Said activists, who are members of the Nahuatzen Indigenous Citizen Council (CCIN), were released by determination of the first chamber of the highest court, which highlighted that said defendants were convicted "unjustly of sabotage."

"Since the concurrence of the necessary circumstances to estimate the existence of one of the elements of the fact that the law indicates as a crime of sabotage has not been proven, it is unnecessary to carry out the examination of the other components," the approved draft sentence remarked.

According to Services and Advice for Peace (Serapaz), civil society organizations celebrated this decision after having accompanied the case for just over three years, and "after the documentation of multiple violations of their rights during the process."

“Any criminal proceeding involving an indigenous person has the right to, among other things, enjoy recognition of cultural diversity and be protected by rights such as self-determination, self-government, the application of their own self-regulatory systems, to land, territory and its natural resources, and full access to the jurisdiction of the State”, valued Serapaz.

On November 1, 2018, the three members of the CCIN demanded recognition of their Nahuatzen indigenous municipality when they were arrested for opposing the city council authorities. For this reason, the Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacán denounced that they were political prisoners.

For his part, the community member of the town Efraín Avilés told local media that "justice was done" and insisted that José Luis Jiménez and José Antonio Arreola were chosen by uses and customs as community authorities.

Serapaz also specified that Mexican indigenous activists face criminalization, persecution, violence and displacement for the full exercise of their rights as indigenous communities.

Said activists "were deprived of their liberty after having exercised their right to autonomy, promoting respect for and strengthening of their Purépecha indigenous culture and its natural resources" in a "context in which the people who dedicate their lives to defending of their communities and the environment are criminalized, threatened and violated”, insisted Serapaz.

The Nahuatzen Autonomy, the community government, and the Nahuatzen Indigenous Citizen Council, were recognized as an indigenous authority by the Electoral Tribunal of the Government of Michoacán and the Federal Government in 2017 under the citizen judgment TEEM-JDC-035/2017.

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