The man accused of killing New York independent journalist Brad Will was released from prison in Oaxaca, Mexico, on Feb. 18 after a federal appeals tribunal declared that there was no evidence against him. Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno, an activist with the Popular Assembly of the People’s of Oaxaca (APPO) from an impoverished neighborhood of Oaxaca City, was freed after 16 months in the state’s harsh Santa María Ixcotel Central Penitentiary. “It was easier to implicate somebody like me than the real killers,” he told reporters.
Fifth District Judge Rosa Iliana Noriega Pérez ordered Martínez freed, overturning the sentence imposed by Judge Luis Salvador Colmenares. Amnesty International applauded the liberation, and called upon Mexican authorities to aggressively seek the true authors of the homicide. In the United States, Brad Will’s family echoed this demand and stated that they had never believed Martínez was responsible for the slaying. (Committee to Protect Journalists, Feb. 24; Milenio, Feb. 19; NYT, AP, El Universal, Notimex, Feb. 18)