President Fox announces review of Acteal case

President Fox has ordered a review of the arrest and imprisonment of The Innocent of Acteal who have been imprisoned for six years, after they were falsely accused of involvement in the Acteal massacre of 1997.

This announcement follows a 50,000 strong protest march in Mexico City on 22 December which was organised by the Presbyterian church with support from many other churches. About 3,000 people marched in Palenque, hundreds in Tuxtla, Tapachula, Villahermosa, Ocosingo, Merida, and other cities throughout Mexico as well.

Abner L√≥pez Párez, director of the Mexican Bible Society and the official representative of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico, commenting on the marches said, ‚ÄúNormally the Presbyterians do not march, protest, or challenge the government. They are doing so in the Acteal case of due to injustice, the 6 years innocent men have suffered in jail unfairly, and they are making a public cry for justice.”

“The Presbyterians invited the various denominations of Mexico to march with them as a sign of solidarity and to manifest their public and personal commitment to justice, honesty, and support of the Acteal prisoners.‚Äù

‚ÄúThe result was large numbers of marches; and people identifying themselves as peaceful and respectful citizens of Mexico who insist on religious freedom, justice, and the government’s integrity being held to a high standard.‚Äù

The Mexican Department of Justice has promised to review each individual case, and free all unjustly sentenced people. They admitted in a newspaper interview that there are probably some unjustly sentenced people, and they need to be released.

No further information about the review procedure is available yet, but it has been opposed by those involved in the original false accusations against the prisoners.They have reacted by seeking to bring pressure on the Mexican government to keep the innocent men in prison.

On 31 December, the men were visited in Cerro Hueco prison by two local pastors. They held a worship service with the men in the prison chapel. The prisoners were encouraged by the service, and also encouraged by the news about the peaceful protest march by the evangelical Christians of Mexico on 22 December. They expressed the hope that the Lord will move hearts and minds to finally bring about their release.

CCFC has written to President Fox welcoming this review and urging that it be carried out in a timely and impartial manner.