The Narco News Bulletin

July 17, 2018 | Issue #65 - Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America

Court Orders the Immediate Release of the Twelve Atenco Prisoners

Ignacio del Valle, Among the Freed

By Anne Vigna
Special to the Narco News Bulletin

June 30, 2010
This report appears on the internet at

The judges of the First Court of Mexico's High Tribunal today ordered, via telegram, the immediate release of twelve political prisoners from the town of Atenco. Their freedom is effective immediately, today, June 30. The Court concluded that the evidence did not exist to sustain the charge of "organized kidnapping," in particular the use of photographs as evidence. The judges also concluded that the presumption of innocence was not respected by prosecutors. They also concluded that the crime of "organized kidnapping" does not even appear in Mexican law.

In the cases of Ignacio del Valle and Felipe Alvarez, the judges stressed that the meetings at which officials of the State of Mexico were detained by citizens (February 8 and April 6 of 2006) had the goal of holding a dialogue to improve educational conditions in the state and that their detention was not premeditated, and that the officials were released within 48 hours unharmed. The decision to detain them was made after citizens objected to the repeated absence of the state Secretary of Education in the talks. All the defendents received a protective order prohibiting their arrest from the Court.

Outside the courthouse, members of the Popular Front in Defense of the Land and of the Justice and Peace Committee for Atenco witnessed the end of a four year struggle that "was not in vain" as Trini, wife of Ignacio del Valle, told the crowd. "I see tears of happiness in the eyes of my compañeros and I would like to say thank you to everyone, thank you to the Mexican people and international solidarity. The federal and state governments are not invincible!" The mothers of the prisoners held at the Molino de las Flores prison were barely able to speak with reporters due to the emotion in their voices. The mother of Hector Galindo, the last prisoner freed by the judges, said, "for justice to begin we want those who are guilty of this barbarity to be in prison now. Today, only the injustice was stopped."

Various of former Atenco prisoners were present and highly emotional. 1997 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams also attended the court session. Leaving the courthouse, she took the microphone:

"At last, to the people of Atenco who have suffered so much, there comes a hope of justice. I am going to inform my fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates, above all Desmond Tutu, who is right now praying for the people of Atenco."

An hour later, the members of the movement headed out to find their prisoners at two penitentiaries in the State of Mexico.

For more Narco News, click here