Clinic client Nestora Salgado freed from prison

March 18, 2016

Versión en español abajo

Nestora SalgadoAfter over two and a half years of illegal detention, International Human Rights Clinic client Nestora Salgado-García is finally free. On Thursday night, Mexican courts cleared her of remaining charges and ordered her release. This morning, she walked out of prison a free woman.

Seattle University School of Law's clinic recently won Salgado's case before the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Mexico has now responded to the U.N. decision, which found her detention to be illegal and demanded her release.

"We are thrilled that Nestora will finally be reunited with her family and many supporters, who have all fought so resolutely for her freedom," stated Thomas Antkowiak, director of the International Human Rights Clinic.

Salgado, a citizen of the United States and Mexico, was arrested for community service in her home village of Olinalá in the Mexican state of Guerrero. Guerrero law and the Mexican Constitution guarantee the rights of indigenous communities to form their own security institutions. Salgado's group — created to protect Olinalá from drug-related violence — was officially part of state law enforcement, and had the express approval of Guerrero's governor.

Salgado moved to the United States in 1991 at the age of 20. She divided her time between Olinalá and the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband, José Luis Avila, her daughters, and grandchildren.

The law school's International Human Rights Clinic had been working to secure her freedom since the fall of 2013, when the petition to the U.N. working group was initially submitted. Rep. Adam Smith, the Freedom for Nestora Committee, and other political leaders had joined the clinic in advocating for her release.

Last spring, they successfully lobbied for her transfer to a women's prison in Mexico City, where she had been held until her release Friday morning.

Libertad de lideresa indigena Nestora Salgado Garcia
Mexico cumple con una de las recomendaciaones de Naciones Unidas

La Clínica Internacional de Derechos Humanos de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Seattle celebra con gran satisfacción la liberación de la lideresa indígena Nestora Salgado García.

"La perseverancia de Nestora y su familia y de tantas personas que la han apoyado, tanto en Estados Unidos como en México, obtuvieron lo que hace tiempo correspondía, libertad y justicia", dijo Thomas Antkowiak, director de la Clínica, que ha representado a Nestora en el litigio internacional.

En febrero, el Grupo de Trabajo sobre Detenciones Arbitrarias de Naciones Unidas recomendó a México la liberación inmediata de Nestora y la reparación por las violaciones a los derechos humanos sufridas desde su arresto hasta la actualidad.

"La libertad de Nestora supone la implementación de una de las dos importantes recomendaciones del Grupo de Trabajo sobre la Detención Arbitraria de la ONU y un claro reconocimiento de la injusticia perpetrada con su encarcelamiento", afirmó la abogada Alejandra Gonza.

Con el triunfo legal de Nestora en México no quedan acusaciones pendientes en su contra y los juzgados a cargo de todas las causas han reconocido que Nestora Salgado García es inocente y que forma parte del sistema de seguridad y justicia indígena de Olinalá.