Nine more of The Innocent of Acteal group of prisoners (including the six men pictured) have been released from prison in Mexico after another hearing in the Mexican Supreme Court.
However, their joy contrasts with the disappointment of 26 other men who had also hoped to be released: the Supreme Court had ruled in August that 55 men should be freed. The release of the nine men brings the total number of innocent men freed to 29 (a group of 20 was freed in August).
The newly-released men have already met the Chiapas Secretary of State and they have agreed to be relocated either with or near the originally-released 20 men, under the same type of agreement and conditions (to settle on land provided by the State government far away from their homes). The State government of Chiapas imposed this agreement after violent threats were made against the first batch of released prisoners.
The nine released men are Pablo Párez Párez, Hilario Guzman Luna, Mariano Diaz Chicarrio, Emilio G√≥mez Luna, Ignacio G√≥mez Gutierrez, Juan Hernandez Párez, Juan G√≥mez Párez, Pedro L√≥pez Párez, and Manuel Luna Párez .
The remaining 50 Acteal prisoners are understandably disappointed and the next stage in the marathon legal process seems unclear, although the Supreme Court has ruled that 16 of the remaining prisoners should be re-tried. Lawyers for the men remain hopeful that more of the innocent men will be released.
A local source who has visited the released men and the remaining prisoners told Church in Chains, ‚ÄúThe men who have been released and those in the prison send their greetings to their Irish brothers and sisters in Christ. They really appreciate your faithfulness in praying for them: their needs, their families, and for their release‚Äù.
The Innocent of Acteal are a group of 79 prisoners, mainly evangelical Christians, who have been unjustly imprisoned in Mexico for over eleven years on false charges of participating in the Acteal ‚Äúmassacre‚Äù. Forty five innocent people (mainly women and children) died in the violent gun battle in December 1997.