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The Guardian: UN panel finds Mexico’s arrest of organizer Nestora Salgado illegal
A United Nations panel has ruled that Mexico’s 2013 arrest and continuing detention of a community police leader was illegal, raising hopes among her supporters she could be freed.
Nestora Salgado is a Seattle-area resident who returned to her native Mexico and led a vigilante-style – but legal – community police force, which mounted patrols to protect residents from cartel operatives.
A dual US-Mexico citizen, Salgado was arrested in August 2013 after people detained by her group alleged they had been kidnapped. A federal judge cleared her of those charges, but a related state case has kept her imprisoned.
KUOW: Renton Grandmother in Mexican Prison: ‘I Need Help’
Human rights activist Nestora Salgado raised her family in Renton. She’s a U.S. citizen and a human rights activist.
But most people know her now as a political prisoner. She’s been held in a Mexican prison for more than two years, with limited outside contact.
BBC Mundo: Who is Nestora Salgado?
In what has been termed a case of “political prisoners” by Guerrero State Governor Rogelio Ortega, Nestora was working as a security agent when she was detained.
Known as “La Comandanta” Nestora was the first women to head a community vigilante force.
Now recognized under Mexican law, state security patrols started during the 1990s. The state government now provides the units with arms, uniforms and trucks.
But corruption claims and untoward politics have seen citizens’ lose faith in this new arm of Mexican law.
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.