Mexico drops charges against 4 men, finds they were tortured

May 27, 2015, 2:36 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A judge has freed four men imprisoned for almost seven years on charges they threw hand grenades into a crowd at a Mexican independence day celebration in 2008, killing eight people.

The Federal Judiciary Council said Wednesday that the judge declared the men innocent, ruling three of them had been tortured before signing confessions. The judge further ruled that protected witnesses who accused the fourth suspect of being a leader of the Zetas cartel, which was presumably behind the attack, lacked credibility.

The Zetas and the La Familia cartel were battling over Michoacan at the time. The theory was that the Zetas staged the grenade attack to create problems for La Familia on its home turf.

The men’s arrest came under strange circumstances, in which they may have been kidnapped and tortured by the La Familia drug cartel and then handed over to police.

Federal police say an anonymous phone tip led them to a house in the Michoacan town of Apatzingan, a known stronghold for La Familia, where they found three men tied up, blindfolded and whimpering. The tip came days after the government accused La Familia of being behind the grenade attack, leading the cartel to hang a banner claiming its innocence and vowing to find the killers.

The four men had continually maintained their innocence. They said they weren’t even in Morelia, the capital of the western Michoacan state where the attack occurred. Sixteen people came forward to back up the men’s story that they were in the Pacific coast port of Lazaro Cardenas at that time.

The judge ruled the defendants’ rights were violated by the release of a video of them confessing without a lawyer and bu the falsification of a signature on the confession.

It was the latest example of the lengthy and difficult process in Mexico to toss out false accusations.

In December, a federal judge dismissed weapons possession charges against two women who witnessed the army killing of suspected drug gang members in southern Mexico last June 30. The women claimed they had been tortured and threatened to coerce them into supporting the army’s version that the suspects were killed in a shootout.

A human rights investigation later found that between 12 and 15 suspects were killed after they surrendered.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

World News

A fisherman watches smoke rise after Russian forces launched a missile attack on a military unit in...
Associated Press

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquarters hit by drone strike

An explosive device carried by a makeshift drone blew up Sunday at the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet on the Crimean Peninsula.
10 days ago
Medical syringes are seen with 'Monkeypox' sign displayed on a screen in the backgound in this illu...
Associated Press

Monkeypox declared a global emergency by UN health agency

The expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that qualifies as a global emergency.
18 days ago
Chinese paramilitary policemen march in front of the Japanese embassy where the Japanese flag is fl...
Associated Press

Japan’s ex-leader Shinzo Abe assassinated during a speech

TOKYO (AP) — Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated Friday on a street in western Japan by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he delivered a campaign speech — an attack that stunned a nation with some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere. The 67-year-old Abe, who was Japan’s […]
1 month ago
Firefighters hose down a burning car after a strike hit a residential area, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk ...
Associated Press

Russia taking ‘operational pause’ in Ukraine, analysts say

Analysts say Russia may be taking an "operational pause" in eastern Ukraine to reassemble forces for a significant offensive.
1 month ago
Prime Minister Boris Johnson enters 10 Downing Street, after reading a statement in London, Thursda...
Associated Press

One scandal too many: British PM Boris Johnson resigns

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday after droves of top government officials quit over the latest scandal to engulf him, marking an end to three tumultuous years in which he tried to bluster his way through one ethical lapse after another. Months of defiance ended almost with a shrug as […]
1 month ago
Sponsored Content by Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.

Sponsored Articles

Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
Mexico drops charges against 4 men, finds they were tortured