More and more countries are putting pressure on Mexico to free Nestora Salgado, an imprisoned community activist. This disposition arose once the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention decided earlier in February that her imprisonment was irrational and, moreover, illegal. The International Human Rights Clinic at Seattle University Law School had been following her case before the Geneva-based panel for almost two years. In the issuing, which was concluded in December, but only released in February, the panel of five members called her arrest arbitrary and called on Mexico to release and compensate Salgado for the violation of her human rights as soon as possible, according to the Associated Press.

The panel decided that she was arrested for her leadership of a local “community police” group, which is secured by Mexican law. Also, the panel found that she was allowed to contact neither her lawyers nor her family for approximately a year. Furthermore, Salgado was not provided with proper medical care or clean water. In the end, the finding charged that she was illegally arrested by the military and her United States passport was not considered.

“In the first place, there is no doubt that the arrest and detention without charges are illegal and thus arbitrary,” the finding reports. “Furthermore, the military arresting civilians for presumed crimes when national security is not at risk is worrying.”

Salgado is a grandmother who has lived in Seattle for more than two decades, became a United States citizen and went back to her village of Olinalá in southern Mexico’s Guerrero state. Soon after, residents started the “community police” movement to fight against the drug cartels that were terrorizing the area. Her lawyers add that defense patrols are protected by Mexican law. However, after she asked her followers to incarcerate a nearby official for working with criminal gangs and ended up being incarcerated in August 2013.


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