Two months since Mexican political prisoner Nestora Salgado was freed after more than two and a half years in high-security jail, three of her colleagues from the community police force she organized in the violence-ridden state of Guerrero are still in prison on trumped up charges, the Mexican daily La Jornada reported Sunday.
Gonzalo Molino Gonzalez, Arturo Campos, and Samuel Ramirez, fellow members of Salgado’s regional community police force in Guerrero, were similarly jailed on charges of “fabricated crimes” and remain behind bars as their freed leader continues to fight for political prisoners in Mexico to be released.
“Our people were suffering kidnappings, extortion, rape of young girls, and I could not sit with my arms crossed,” Gonzales said in an interview with La Jornada of his decision to take up the struggle with the community police force organizing against rampant violence and the reign of drug cartels, fueled by widespread impunity.
“They can lock me up physically, but my freedom is inside of me,” he added. “My thinking, my ideas, and my heart are free.”
Two and a half years after she was thrown into a Mexican federal penal facility, arrested without a warrant and charged with kidnapping, indigenous community police leader Nestora Salgado was freed from Tepepan Women’s Social Rehabilitation Center in Mexico City mid-March.
A judge threw out the charges against Salgado on March 17 after stating they had no basis. While in custody, the activist originally from Olinala, Guerrero endured a stint in a maximum-security prison, solitary confinement, and the denial of medication and physical therapy she needed to fully heal from injuries she sustained in a car accident in 2002.
A day after her liberation order, Salgado participated in a news conference where she detailed the injustice and frustration surrounding her detainment. “I felt that I was buried alive in a drawer. I was out of touch for 20 months, in isolation for a crime that I did not commit. They didn’t even let me coexist with the other prisoners. I only saw them when I went to court. They treated me in the most brutal way that they could. It’s difficult to struggle against the government when they are out to get you, but it’s even worse that they did this when all I wanted was to defend my community,” stated Salgado.
Nestora Salgado was immediately slapped with new charges after judges ordered her release, but lawyers are hopeful she will still soon walk free.
Jailed U.S.-Mexican activist Nestora Salgado remains in prison despite a court order demaning her release, some 30 months after being arrested. However, the weak footing of the new homicide and kidnapping charges leveled against her might mean she’s close to regaining her freedom, local media reported Wednesday.
Salgado, a Mexican-born U.S. citizen, was arrested in August 2013 on charges of kidnapping and engaging in organized crime after returning to her hometown of Olinala in the violence-ridden state of Guerrero to organize a community police force, and to take a stand against drug cartels and state complicity in violence.
Muchas gracias to the talented Bethany Leal who donated this beautiful birthday cake for Nestora! Keep up the great work!
Seattle city council is joining in the debate of whether to join the growing chorus of calls for the immediate release of Nestora Salgado, a former Renton resident, who is now in a Mexican prison.
Salgado was arrested in August, 2013 in her home state of Guerrero, where she led a legal community police force to fend off organized crime.
A resolution brought forward by council member Kshama Sawant would urge authorities in Mexico and the United States to “increase its efforts to secure her release.”
Fue detenida por el Ejército y posteriormente incomunicada sin haber sido presentada en ningún momento ante un juez que determinara la legalidad de su detención, destaca el informe
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.
Chilpancingo, 10 de noviembre.- El gobernador de Guerrero, Héctor Astudillo Flores, informó ayer que la embajada de Estados Unidos solicitó la intervención de la administración estatal para que se logre poner en libertad a Nestora Salgado García, ex comandanta de la Policía Comunitaria en Olinalá, quien cuenta con doble nacionalidad (mexicana y estadunidense) y está presa desde hace más de dos años.
Chilpancingo, November 10 – The governor of Guerrero, Héctor Astudillo Flores, reported yesterday that the US Embassy asked for his intervention to free Nestora Salgado García, the ex commander of the Olinalá Community Police, who has US and Mexican citizenship, and has been jailed for more than two years.
Nestora Salgado is a mother of three who left her hometown of Olinala, Mexico as a teenager 20 years ago for a new life in the United States. She became an American citizen and worked three jobs to provide for her family. But after a car accident in 2002 nearly killed her, she quit working and moved back to her hometown just as drug cartel rivalries became more violent.
The cartels fought for territory around Olinala, subjecting residents to kidnappings, extortion, and murder. Outraged, Nestora became the leader of a community police force that took on the cartels by arresting murderers and drug dealers. She operated under legally recognized community policing rules that were enacted to protect indigenous populations after a massacre of peasants by state security forces in 1995.
Two years ago she was arrested by Mexican authorities.
México, D.F., 4 de Junio de 2015. Familiares de Nestora Salgado y organizaciones sociales marcharon este jueves hacia el Centro de Readaptación Social de Tepepan exigiendo la liberación inmediata de “La Comandanta”.