A Mexican court has acquitted indigenous human rights defender Lucila Bettina Cruz Velazquez of all charges against her.
Bettina Cruz Velazquez is an activist who has opposed corporate development projects initiated on indigenous land without the free, prior and informed consent of these communities. As a result of her activism, she was charged with acts or omissions gravely affecting ‘national consumption and national wealth’ and with illegally detaining individuals after a peaceful protest in 2011.
Bettina Cruz Velazquez’s acquittal is being celebrated as a victory by supporters who say the charges against her were baseless and meant to intimidate activists. However, human rights defenders remain at risk in Mexico.
“While her acquittal sends an important positive message that the rule of law has ultimately been upheld, it is time for the Mexican state to guarantee due process for all other human rights defenders facing apparently arbitrary charges, and take steps to prevent the criminalisation of activists” says Pooja Patel of the International Service for Human Rights.
Mexico: Court dismisses baseless charges against Bettina Cruz Velazquez, International Service for Human Rights, 16 February 2015.
Defend a defender: Urge Mexico’s Federal Attorney General to investigate Claudia Medina’s torture complaint via Amnesty International.