News ID: 254193
Published: 0517 GMT June 13, 2019

Court in Mexico orders migrant caravan activists freed

Court in Mexico orders migrant caravan activists freed

A court in Mexico has dismissed all charges against two prominent migration activists who had been jailed last week on human-trafficking accusations.

All charges against Cristobal Sanchez and Irineo Mujica, activists with the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), were rejected on Wednesday due to lack of evidence, reported.

“We are the first political prisoners of the ‘Fourth Transformation,’” Sanchez said at a press conference after being freed, using a term invented by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to refer to a series of radical changes envisioned by his government.

“The sector that has been hit the hardest by this transformation has been the migrants,” Sanchez said. “Anyone who assumes a leadership role within a migrant caravan passing through Mexico is singled out, persecuted, imprisoned, and subsequently deported.”

The 49-year-old Mujica also said, “If they continue to invent crimes, if they continue with this corruption, then we don’t really have a Fourth Transformation.”

The two caravan organizers were detained last Wednesday as the US and Mexico negotiated a deal under which Mexico City agreed to clamp down on people smuggling networks and to deploy security forces to rein in illegal immigration from Central America via its territory to the United States.

The development came after US President Donald Trump threatened to impose five-percent import tariffs on all Mexican goods if Mexico City did not tighten its borders.

The arrests raised controversy, with critics saying that the two individuals were arrested in a political move to appease Trump and avoid his tariffs.

Caravans, large groups of refugees moving with the help of non-profit groups to avoid exploitation by drug cartels and corrupt government officials, have been organized in Mexico for many years, but they drew international attention in 2018 when Trump insisted that they be halted before reaching the US border.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras organized buses to move people in caravans last year. US border authorities have accused the group of “coaching” migrants to ask for asylum; its members say that they are only teaching migrants about their rights.

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