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Mexican Political Prisoner Salgado García on Hunger Strike after nearly Two Years of Unjust Detention

By 27 mayo, 2015 Sin Comentarios

Community Police Commander Nestora SalgadoNestora Salgado García, a Mexican-American woman and former coordinator of a community police force in the indigenous community of Olinalá, Guerrero, has been locked up in a federal maximum security prison in Tepic, Nayarit since August 2013 after being falsely accused of kidnapping and involvement in organized crime. The pretext for these accusations was that she arrested teenagers for drug dealing and the local sheriff Armando Patrón Jiménez for tampering with evidence at a crime scene. Salgado’s arrest happened soon after she issued a press release denouncing Olinalá’s mayor and other government officials for their involvement in drug trafficking. In March 2014, federal judge Arroyo Alcántara dismissed the accusations and ordered her liberation, having determined that her actions were legal considering the powers given to the Community Police by Guerrero state law. In spite of this ruling, she is still being kept in the high security prison in solitary confinement without proper medical attention and few opportunities to talk to her lawyer and family.

Salgado suffers from severe neuropathy in her hands and feet due to a car accident several years ago and her health has been deteriorating since her arrest. In January 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) based in Washington D.C. urged the Mexican government to offer her the medical care she needs; a demand that Mexican officials have ignored. The conditions Salgado remains in put her life and integrity at risk.


To protest her continued detention, Salgado has been on a hunger strike since May 5th and stopped drinking liquids on the 23rd. “I don’t mind dying now because I feel so depressed, so humiliated, and discriminated against by the government of Guerrero as a woman. […] The prosecutors will be the ones responsible for my death if they don’t let me out because I am innocent and I am willing to die in the fight for my liberty. I am being tortured and abused. Why?” Salgado was supposed to be transferred to a lower security prison in Mexico City last week but since its announcement, the date of her transfer has been postponed three times.


Along with Salgado, twelve other members of the same community police force were arrested at the same time with similar charges: kidnapping, carrying firearms restricted to the Army, terrorism and injury. Human rights organizations both in Mexico and abroad have denounced these arrests as politically motivated rather than based on juridical grounds. With these community activists imprisoned, corrupt municipal officials have sent a message to others who might oppose them. On a related note, the imprisoned community members formerly played an important role in opposing the imposition of mining projects and in their absence, the territory is not protected against lucrative mining projects which are often linked to organized crime.


Although Salgado has been living in a Seattle suburb for 20 years, she has regularly returned to her hometown and remains involved in the community. She helped to drive armed gangs out of town by mobilizing local residents and during the ten months that Salgado was coordinator of the Community Police, crime rates decreased by ninety percent and there were no homicides recorded. Only two months after the Guerrero state governor shut down the community police, crime increased and there were four homicides despite the presence of over a thousand marines and soldiers, and state and federal police in the area. “She was bringing justice and offering security to her people, something the government cannot currently offer us,” said Marco Antonio Suástegui, another incarcerated human rights activist from Guerrero.


UPDATE: Nestora Salgado was tranferred to a lower security prison for women in Mexico City on May 29th in the afternoon where she received medical attention, after 24 days on hunger strike. 


(06/12/2015) Read The Guardian’s interview with Nestora Salgado from lower security prison here


Community Police Commander Nestora Salgado Garcia


URGENT ACTION: Sign the petition to free Nestora here


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