By: Francisco Castellanos J. | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat
Ignacio Mendoza, lawyer of the founder and former autodefensa leader, José Manuel Mireles Valverde, called it a “mockery” for Mexico’s justice system because of former commissioner for the Security of Michoacán, Alfredo Castillo Cervantes, Michoacán’s former governor Fausto Vallejo Figueroa, and Attorney General Martín Godoy Castro’s refusal to obey the order of the Fifth District Court to present themselves to testify in Mireles’ case.
Mendoza, who also represents Cemeí Verdía, said that none of them have justification to not present themselves and that for them to keep maintaining that position could be eligible for a fine of more than 80 minimum wages.
Castillo, he added, has a large scale position (head of the National Sports Commission) so he could have gone to testify but instead sent a letter via his assistant that was not signed.
“José Martín Godoy is the Attorney General of Michoacán so he could well have come via helicopter and not spent more than four hours,” he explained.
For the case of the former governor, he said, he is now an ordinary citizen, and even more so, he could’ve attended but had health problems, Mireles’ lawyer explained.
The lawyer claims to have won the case, that the former leader of the autodefensas will be released soon by the body of evidence presented at the Fifth District Court and that Judge José Armando Wong Aceituno will have no choice but to release Mireles.
“The judge will send them (Vallejo, Castillo and Godoy) a questionnaire to see if they deign to answer it, but this case is already won for Dr. Mireles to regain his freedom, because the causes are the same as those of Cemeí Verdía, for which he was granted his freedom.”
Meanwhile, the founder of the autodefensas of La Ruana, Hipólito Mora Chávez, said in an interview to the media that he presented himself to testify and said why the autodefensas arose and also how the government used them as “cannon fodder” sending them to clean Michoacán of organized crime.
“We organized ourselves because organized crime humiliated us, they trampled us and killed many; some had to leave their villages, for that reason we became autodefensas, to defend our family since the government left us in the hands of organized crime, there was no other reason for us to take up arms.”
“It was not to take over plazas as the drug traffickers have said, it wasn’t to kill, but only to defend our rights. The moment the autodefensas rose up, armed forces came and supported us in fighting against the Caballeros Templarios, both the federal police and the Mexican Army,” Hipólito said to Judge Wong Aceituno.
The declaration took place amid a deployment of federal, state, and rural police forces as well as about 20 relatives of the 185 autodefensas from the community of La Mira who have been imprisoned since May, 9, 2014.
With placards in hand, relatives of the imprisoned autodefensas demanded their freedom. “To those who are guilty, punish them if they have a criminal history and to those who do not, and who are innocent, release them,” they pleaded.