On Thursday, the Second Collegiate Circuit Court of the State of Quintana Roo overturned an earlier judgment – delivered on 24 February– which had declared that the fundamental rights of the Mayan journalist Pedro Canché had been breached, but did not order his release. The Court has now decided that he must be released.
The judgment is based a lack of evidence for the alleged sabotage. The three judges of the Second Collegiate Circuit Court unanimously confirmed that Pedro Canché was outside the premises of the Comisión de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado (CAPA – the State drinking-water and sewerage board), in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, only in order to take video of the demonstration which took place in August 2014.
On Thursday, just after midnight, Pedro Canché was released, assisted by ARTICLE 19 and consultant lawyer Araceli Andrade. As recommended by the National Human Rights Commission in recommendation 13/2015, the Government of Quintana Roo should apologize publicly, punish those responsible for the unlawful charges, ensure that this does not happen again, and compensate him for harm caused.
Moreover, harm to his health caused by physical assaults on him during the first two days of his unjust imprisonment, must be compensated.
“We were able to obtain justice, but Pedro Canché will return to journalism in an environment where critical voices and dissenting views are persecuted and punished. His freedom comes as the result of the support and assistance of his colleagues from civil society organizations and the press,” said Dario Ramirez, Director of ARTICLE 19 for Mexico and Central America.
ARTICLE 19 demands that the harm caused to Pedro Canché and his family be compensated in accordance with international standards. Moreover, ARTICLE 19 demands that the Government of Quintana Roo, led by Roberto Borge, and the municipal authority of Felipe Carrillo Puerto guarantee and respect Canché’s rights to personal safety, security and freedom outside prison by refraining from any act of harassment or assault.