Followers of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) and Section 22 teachers’ union marched in Oaxaca City earlier this month to protest the imprisonment of local activist Juan Manuel Martìnez Moreno in the 2006 slaying of New York video journalist Brad Will. Judge Salvador Cordero Colmenares issued an order June 20, condemning Martìnez Moreno to prison while the case against him is pending. An appeals court judge, Rosa Ilena Noriega Pèrez, on July 2 refused to issue an amparo, or judicial order protecting Martìnez Moreno pending further investigation—despite a history of serious irregularities in the case.
Martìnez Moreno was arrested last October, but Mexican federal judges issued two successive amparos that blocked his prosecution until they ran out on May 28. While the Prosecutor General of the Republic accepted the thesis that Will had been shot by APPO followers, just before Martìnez Moreno’s arrest the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) issued a finding rejecting this version of events.
A letter signed by 100 clergy members from the US and Mexico was presented July 2 to Mexican and Oaxacan authorities asserting Martìnez Moreno’s innocence and naming the likely suspect as Abel Zárate, a town councilor from the Oaxaca City suburb of Santa Lucía del Camino, and municipal police officer Oswaldo Manuel Aguilar Coello, both local leaders of Oaxaca’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). (La Jornada, Friends of Brad Will, July 3; InfoMinuto, Oaxaca, July 2; La Jornada, June 21)