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.”
It’s not a rallying cry now, but a description of the grandmother and community police force leader who is back in Seattle after nearly 30 months in jail in Mexico.
Since her return Nestora Salgado has had moments of celebration, but the woman known as “La Comandante” is under no illusion that her fight is over.
“I need to go back because my people need me,” she said in Spanish, at an interview at her Renton home. “I know that community policing is necessary for the people, the organizing of the people. And if I can do it I’m going to do it, even I have to pay the highest cost.”
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.
Please enjoy our welcome home video for Nestora Salgado! And don’t forget that the fight is ongoing: there are many political prisoners still in Mexico who desperately need our support!
La activista social y líder de la Policía Comunitaria de Olinalá, Guerrero, salió libre esta mañana después de que fuera encarcelada por secuestros que nunca se comprobaron. Distintos organismos internacionales, e incluso la ONU, habían señalado irregularidades durante su proceso. Esta tarde ofreció una conferencia de prensa donde exigió al Presidente Enrique Peña Nieto respeto a los pueblos y que no siga permitiendo la violación a la Constitución.
Nestora landed safely in Seattle yesterday! Here she is with her husband José and daughter Grisel, flanked by supporters. ¡Nestora libre!
Una mujer que estuvo encarcelada durante dos años y medio en México por encabezar una policía comunitaria regresó a Seattle el martes.
Nestora Salgado fue recibida con abrazos de su esposo y de simpatizantes que corearon su nombre a su arribo en el Aeropuerto Internacional Seattle-Tacoma.
“Me siento feliz. Me siento emocionada. Sentía que no lo iba a lograr nunca. Pero Dios hizo justicia. Estoy aquí”, dijo frente a los medios que la esperaban.
A cuatro días de haber recuperado su libertad, Nestora Salgado, que estuvo presa por más de dos años en la Ciudad de México, acusada de robo y secuestro, regresó a Estados Unidos, ya que tiene doble nacionalidad.
La líder de la policía comunitaria de Olinalá, Guerrero, fue liberada el pasado viernes, por falta de pruebas, luego de haber sido encarcelada desde agosto de 2013.
Salgado llegó el martes a Seattle fue recibida por su esposo y simpatizantes que corearon su nombre a su arribo en el Aeropuerto Internacional Seattle-Tacoma.
“Me siento feliz. Me siento emocionada. Sentía que no lo iba a lograr nunca. Pero Dios hizo justicia. Estoy aquí”, manifestó la líder de la policía comunitaria de Olinalá, Guerrero, según destaca la agencia AP.
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!