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Judge Clears APPO Adviser of Drug Charges
April 21, 2009 - Today Oaxacan judge Amado Chiñas Fuentes absolved APPO adviser David Venegas of charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and heroine. Venegas' defense team argued that police had planted cocaine and heroine on Venegas after his arrest in order to imprison him and later charge him with sedition, conspiracy, arson, attacks on transit routes, rebellion, crimes against civil servants, dangerous attacks, and resisting arrest.
The government tried Venegas on all charges except for the drug-related ones. The court declared him innocent of all charges and released him on March 5, 2008, after he'd served nearly eleven months in jail. With the drug charges still pending, he was released on bail and forced to report to the court every week for over a year, severely limiting his ability to travel.
Today's innocent verdict means that the judge has accepted Venegas' defense that Oaxacan police planted the drugs on him. The drug charges are the last of a series of false charges that Venegas has had to fight for just over two years.
In a statement released by his collective VOCAL, Venegas stresses that it was grassroots support that led to his freedom. "This innocent verdict, far from demonstrating the health or rectitude of the Mexican legal system, was pulled off thanks to the strength of the popular movement and with the solidarity of compañeros and compañeras from Mexico and various parts of the world. The legal system in Mexico is corrupt to the core and is a despicable tool used by the authorities to subjugate and repress those who struggle for justice and freedom."
The statement goes on to say that VOCAL is committed to fighting for the freedom of Oaxaca's political prisoners. Furthermore, "We aren't satisfied with having won our compañero's unconditional freedom. Having demonstrated the bad government's lie, we will now focus on imprisoning the Oaxacan peoples' repressors, who are responsible for this arbitrary and illegal detention: from the police who carried out the detention and repression up to these thugs' highest bosses."
Previous coverage of Venegas case is available in the following Narco News articles: