Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: Things may heat up again - federal judge says arrest warrrants against union leader and 30 others are, "Good to go."

A federal judge has denied an "amparo" to protect Enrique Rueda Pacheco and at least 30 other teachers union and APPO activists from arrest. The teachers union leader and the others are accused of armed robbery, principally from the invasion and sacking of the state Congress.

An amparo, as I have pointed out before, is a many splendored legal tool here in Mexico. It can be used as a temporary restraining order, a writ of habeus corpus or just about any old thing that your lawyer can talk a federal judge into issuing. People have been known to get amparos prohibiting a state government from charging them auto license fees that they didn't like. I kid you not. Look it up.

In this case, it probably was a writ of habeus corpus. In Mexico, if you know or even suspect that the authorities are investigating you or may file charges against you, you can go to a federal judge and ask for an amparo. If the judge issues one in your favor, it precludes your arrest until the authorities can present evidence against you sufficient for the judge, or a higher ranking judge, to dissolve the amparo.

Nothing like it exists in the USA. In America, one would file a writ of habeus corpus after an arrest. You can't do it on supposition.

The federal judge in this case probably was advised by prosecutors that they had video tapes of all of the 30 some accused. The morons, led by Pacheco, invaded the state Congress at the height of their power in Oaxaca when they thought they had both the state and federal governments on the run. There were surveillance cameras all over the Congress building faithfully recording them as they hauled off computers, telephones, TV's, videos, furniture, fixtures and files.

Not only the videos are damning, but there were many employees as well as some Congress members in the building when the teachers atttacked who can identify some of them. With videos and eye witness identifications in hand, the judge said, "Sorry. The arrest warrants are good to go."

It remains to be seen if the state and federal governments will, in fact, exercise the warrants and haul all these people off to jail. I would doubt it. Certainly the state government doesn't want to. It would probably prefer to just quietly assassinate them, one by one, over time. But Felipe Calderón may override the state's objections.

We'll see.

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