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Councilmember Sawant, Congressman Smith call for Nestora Salgado’s immediate release

SEATTLE – Earlier today the City Council voted 7-0 in favor of a resolution, sponsored by Councilmember Kshama Sawant, urging the authorities in the Mexican federal government and the state of Guerrero to immediately release Nestora Salgado and facilitate her safe return to her family in Washington. It also calls on Secretary of State Kerry and the U.S. State Department to increase their efforts to secure Nestora Salgado’s release.

Speaking in support, Sawant said, “Salgado displayed extraordinary courage by taking a stand against the drug cartels and corrupt government officials in Mexico, especially considering that tens of thousands have been killed in the country’s drug wars from 2007 to 2014.”  Sawant added, “In order to win Nestora’s freedom, we must greatly strengthen our movement. I want to walk alongside Nestora as she walks out of prison a free woman. I appeal to activists, workers, trade union leaders, and elected officials to join the movement to secure Nestora’s immediate release.”

After raising her family in the greater Seattle area, Salgado – a dual citizen of Mexico and the United States – returned to her hometown in Guerrero, Mexico and formed a legally sanctioned community police force to defend itself against corrupt local officials with ties to drug cartels. Salgado was arrested on August 21, 2013 on charges of kidnapping after she began investigating local government officials for corruption and complicity in drug and sex trafficking. She has remained in prison ever since, in spite of significant concerns of the legality of her continued detention.

Most recently, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, an international panel of independent human rights experts, communicated on February 1, 2016, that Nestora Salgado’s detention is illegal and arbitrary, and that she must be released immediately.

Furthermore, U.S. Congressman Adam Smith and the Metropolitan King County Council have written letters requesting that the State Department prioritize Nestora Salgado’s release. The King County Council wrote that Nestora Salgado “‘experienced serious abuse of human rights, lack of adequate medical attention, and lack of due process throughout her detention.”

“I commend the City of Seattle’s resolution urging Mexican authorities to release Nestora Salgado and requesting the State Department to assist in securing her release, said Congressman Smith.  “It is unacceptable for the Mexican government to continue to imprison Nestora.  Throughout Nestora’s detention, I have consistently engaged with U.S. and Mexican government officials to advocate for her freedom. I will remain involved and engaged on this critical issue until Nestora is released and am grateful to Councilmember Kshama Sawant and the Seattle City Council for their vocal support of Nestora as we continue to work together as a community to see Nestora returned home safely to her family in Renton.”

To-date, at least 100 organizations in the United States have called for Nestora Salgado’s release, including greater Seattle area organizations like El Centro de la Raza; the Washington Federation of State Employees Local 303, Local 843, Local 1488, and Council 28; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46; and, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Puget Sound.

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