SEATTLE – Councilmember Kshama Sawant celebrated the news this morning that U.S. and Mexican citizen Nestora Salgado was released this morning. She had spent more than 2 ½ years in a Mexican prison on trumped-up charges in connection to her role in forming a legally sanctioned community police force to defend itself against corrupt local officials with ties to drug cartels.
Sawant said, “Nestora Salgado took a courageous stand against corrupt officials and the drug cartels in Mexico, and was imprisoned for 2 ½ years because of it. Nestora’s release today is the direct result of the tireless work of countless activists in the U.S. and Mexico, of her family, working people, trade union leaders, and elected officials. It is further proof that when ordinary people organize and fight, we can win.”
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.
On February 22, 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.
Furthermore, U.S. Congressman Adam Smith and the Metropolitan King County Council have strongly urged 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.”
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.
At least 100 organizations in the United States 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.