NewsLatin AmericaLopez Obrador charges against "the corruption of the judges" to defend the informal preventive detention

Lopez Obrador charges against “the corruption of the judges” to defend the informal preventive detention

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during the morning press conference on August 30, 2022, in Mexico City.Galo Canas (Cuartoscuro)

The informal pre-trial detention has once again put relations between the Mexican Executive and the Supreme Court of Justice in the eye of the storm. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has ignited the controversy in his morning conference by charging against the judicial system, the only one, he has assured, that he has not gone through a cleanup against corruption. “The Judiciary is intact, the judges do not care about the people, they defend group interests.” That is the reason why the Government opposes the revision of the informal preventive detention, which in Mexico keeps four out of 10 people incarcerated without having had access to a trial. The Court will decide in the coming days on this situation and will presumably leave Article 19 inapplicable, which contemplates numerous crimes for which a judge can automatically dictate that the accused continue his process in jail.

The arguments put forward by the president collide with those of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) and also with the position of the Mexican minister who is working on this matter before putting it to a vote, Luis Maria Aguilar. Lopez Obrador assures that, due to the corruption of the judges, dangerous criminals who “will endanger the lives of public servants” will be released. And that this will happen until the judicial system is “moralized”, because, according to him, the judges are still “those of long ago, characterized by corruption, with honorable exceptions”. The Supreme Court has not wanted to comment on the president’s words.

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Some jurists, however, defend that these arguments are nothing more than a smokescreen, that they do not guarantee justice. And they clarify that in no way is it intended to completely eliminate the precautionary measures that dictate imprisonment for an accused when a risk of escape or violence against the alleged victim is detected. “What is said is that this preventive detention cannot be an automatic mechanism. The prosecutor is being asked to do his job and justify the reasons for making this decision,” explains criminal lawyer Adriana Greaves. “The Government takes for granted that putting people in jail is to gain security, but the truth is that many defendants are not even sentenced in those years of preventive detention and are released when the established term expires. And others have spent years in prison and when they were sentenced they were declared not guilty”, continues the lawyer from the Tojil collective.

In Mexico there are about 92,600 people behind bars under that figure, according to the Monthly Penitentiary Statistical Information Notebook published by the Security Secretariat last June. Minister Aguilar has stated that most of them are vulnerable and did not have access to adequate defense. If it is dangerous to release a criminal because there is no figure to keep him in jail while the process progresses, it is dramatic to have innocent people in jail. Mexico provides some of these lacerating cases, such as that of Daniel Garcia and Reyes Alpizar, who spent 17 years in prison accused of murder. Both have recounted the torture of which they were victims so that they would plead guilty. His case reached the IACHR and has become a knock in the fight against this blind and automatic legal mechanism. Today they are at home with an ankle bracelet. They did not have a trial.

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The President of the Government sets his attention, however, on white-collar criminals, with power and influence to avoid jail and be exonerated of their crimes. “If the Court decides that there is no longer preventive detention, I respect the decision, but I do not want to be an accomplice. I don’t want tomorrow to ask, why did this white-collar criminal get out of jail? Well, it wasn’t us, it was the Judiciary, but the criminal has already left, ”he mentioned in his conference. “Imagine what would happen [en caso de no haber prision preventiva oficiosa]. If the judges already release right and left, the problem would worsen, “said Lopez Obrador. “We will clean up the Judiciary” and then they will be able to defend the elimination of that criminal figure, he assures. “When there is full confidence that there is no corruption, but we are not in that situation.” Lopez Obrador’s term ends in 2024.

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Both things happen in Mexico, criminals on the street and innocent prisoners, which shows an improvable judicial system. Without preventive detention, “Mexico continues to be the country of corruption and impunity,” the president has said, but without it, thousands of innocent citizens, due to the same corruption that is mentioned, may be imprisoned.

The ex officio prison is established for those accused of crimes such as sexual violence, organized crime, intentional homicide, femicide, kidnapping and human trafficking. This catalog also includes crimes such as the use of social programs for electoral purposes, illicit enrichment, home robbery, cargo and fuel transportation. What the Supreme Court detects, in view of the figures, is that there is an abuse of this figure, which deprives liberty before verifying whether it is a guilty or innocent person, sometimes for years, depending on the sentence that foreseen for the crime in question.

The matter thus becomes entangled in a complex debate on justice and corruption in a country like Mexico, which, on occasion, as the president has also mentioned regarding the case Florence Cassez and Israel Vallarta, shames the country in the world for the illicit practices used to put a person in jail. That case, the arrest of two people for an alleged kidnapping broadcast live on television, is today a Netflix documentary that one of the defendants may be able to watch from prison.

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Source: EL PAIS


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