Mexico’s Attorney General apologizes to 3 jailed indigenous women

Cervantes apologized Tuesday after Mexican courts ordered the office to say it was sorry and make reparations for the women’s imprisonment
The event included two separate public apologies - Photo: Alejandra Leyva / EL UNIVERSAL
21/02/2017
18:31
Newsroom and AP
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Mexico's Attorney General, Raúl Cervantes, has formally apologized to three indigenous women who were jailed for years on kidnapping charges that were later dismissed. Cervantes publicly acknowledged the women innocence and recognized that his agency committed irregularities in the judicial cases of Jacinta Francisco Marcial, Teresa González Cornelio and Alberta Alcántara Juan: “We have created legal mechanisms to prevent events like these to be repeated”, he said.

Cervantes apologized Tuesday after Mexican courts ordered the office to say it was sorry and make reparations for the women’s imprisonment. The event was divided in two separate apologies, one for Jacinta’s case and a separate apology for the accusations against Alberta and Teresa.

“Further to your request, Jacinta Francisco Marcial, I publicly acknowledge that you’re innocent of the crimes by which you were imprisoned for three years”, Cervantes said, while 54-year-old Jacinta made only one claim: “Do your job properly and do not put innocent people in prison.”

As for Alberta and Teresa, the Attorney General said: “The Attorney General’s Office did not performed properly and thus incurred in moral damage against you; a damage that must be repaired. Alberta and Teresa, I acknowledge your innocence for the crimes you were charged with and by which you were unfairly put into prison.” Teresa was accompanied by the baby girl who was born in prison and demanded that Attorney General’s commitment that “cases like ours will never happen again; planting of evidence and imprisonment of innocent people cannot be.”

For her part, Alberta said that “there is always light upon the way” and was sorry that the Attorney General’s apology would not bring back “the lost time” she spent in prison.

The Otomi women were arrested in 2006 during an anti-piracy raid at a traditional open-air market staged after six federal investigators said they were held against their will by angry vendors. The three women were initially convicted and sentenced to 21 years for kidnapping.

Jacinta Francisco Marcial was freed in 2009 and Alberta Alcántara Juan and Teresa González Cornelio were freed in 2010, after Mexico's Supreme Court ruled there was insufficient evidence in the case. Critics charged that prosecutors fabricated evidence.

 

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