Mexican district judge Rosa Ileana Ortega Pérez in Oaxaca city issued an order on Dec. 30 giving the federal government 10 days to release activist Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno, who has been held since Oct. 16, 2008 for the murder of New York-based independent journalist Brad Will. Martínez Moreno, a member of the leftist Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), had already been cleared of the murder charges on Nov. 9 by magistrate judge Javier Leonel Santiago Martínez, who asked Judge Ortega Pérez to release the prisoner within 48 hours. However, the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) appealed, as it is expected to do again with Judge Ortega Pérez’s decision.
Will, who was openly sympathetic to the APPO, was shot dead while covering an APPO-sponsored demonstration against Oaxaca state governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz on Oct. 27, 2006; the government failed to produce any witnesses claiming to have seen Martínez Moreno shoot Will. The defendant’s lawyer, Alba Cruz Ramos, said Section 22 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE) and organizations in APPO may hold a sit-in in early January in front of the local PGR office to demand Martínez Moreno’s immediate release. (La Jornada, Dec. 31)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Jan. 4