Follow us on Twitter!
The Renton Reporter: Family, supporters call for release of Nestora Salgado on anniversary of imprisonment
U.S. Rep. Adam Smith on Friday released a statement calling for the release of Renton resident and naturalized U.S. citizen Nestora Salgado from the Mexican prison in which she is being held.
“For two years, Nestora has been denied due process and justice by the Mexican government. It is entirely unacceptable that she remains imprisoned in conditions that threaten her life,” Smith said in a press release.
Salgado was arrested in 2013 for her leadership in community police group in her hometown of Olinalá in the state of Guerrero, which has a long tradition of legally-recognized community self-defense groups. The Mexican government has also called for her release.
Both Smith and Sen. Patty Murray have called on the U.S. State Department to bring attention to the case.
Guerrero law and the Mexican Constitution guarantee the rights of indigenous communities to create their own justice and security institutions. Nestora became a leader of a community-policing group that legally forms part of state law enforcement. The group tried to protect their community from the staggering levels of narco violence in the area. By many accounts, they had great success weakening the traffickers’ grip on Olinalá.
But when the group started to pursue the crimes of connected government officials, Nestora crossed the line drawn by the corrupt establishment. She was seized by soldiers; they never showed her a warrant or explained the reasons for the arrest. Guerrero’s governor at the time, Angel Aguirre, banished her — in his own private plane — to a maximum-security prison nearly 1,000 kilometers away.
Nestora was held in solitary confinement for almost two years. Far from her family and community, she was also denied visits from her chosen attorney for an entire year. In May, after months of serious health problems, she was transferred to a prison with medical facilities in Mexico City.
In all of this time, there has been no trial[.]
Nestora Salgado is an indigenous leader, a naturalized U.S. citizen and political prisoner in Mexico. She was seized without an arrest warrant by Mexican federal soldiers in August 2013 as a result of her leadership role in community policing against organized crime, which has swept through the indigenous communities of the state of Guerrero over the last several years.
Nestora was held incommunicado and transferred to a maximum security prison far away from her home community of Olinalá. For weeks, she was denied access to her attorney and visits from her family. She is being denied pain medication and physical activity she requires due to her rehabilitation from a severe auto accident.
Libertad para Nestora/Freedom for Nestora – Seattle Committee
The Seattle Committee formed in November 2013 when community activists came together with Nestora’s family, who live in Renton, to organize a protest in front of the Mexican Consulate on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day. Word of the campaign spread across the country, and actions were held that day in six U.S. cities, plus Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, France and Australia. Over one hundred organizations and prominent individuals have since endorsed the Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado.
The Seattle Committee participated in the Martin Luther King Day Celebration last January, where Nestora’s family addressed the rally. The Committee has also spoken at International Women’s Day and May Day rallies, sponsored a Freedom for Nestora Fiesta benefit, and has provided speakers at numerous community and union meetings.