HomeNewsBriefMexico Senators Propose Amnesty for Self-Defense Forces
BRIEF

Mexico Senators Propose Amnesty for Self-Defense Forces

MEXICO / 23 SEP 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

Senators in Mexico have proposed an initiative to create a law granting amnesty to imprisoned vigilantes including vigilante leader Jose Manuel Mireles, but the conditions for amnesty suggest the proposal is politically motivated.

Thirteen senators from opposition parties proposed creating an amnesty law that would benefit over 380 vigilantes detained in the state of Michoacan, reported El Universal. The amnesty would apply to members of Michoacan’s self-defense groups accused of committing crimes between February 24, 2013 — which the senators consider to be the date in which the self-defense groups first appeared — and September 1, 2014, reported CNN.

In order to be eligible for amnesty, vigilantes would have to meet several conditions, including having been arrested between March 7, 2013 and September 1, 2014, and having joined self-defense groups in order to protect their families and communities from criminal organizations.

According to CNN, the initiative is based on the argument that the imprisoned vigilantes were detained for political reasons or without sufficient evidence.  

InSight Crime Analysis

The conditions for amnesty and the fact that the proposal was written by senators from opposition parties suggest the initiative is politically motivated and could be designed to discredit the government’s policies towards self-defense groups.

The dates listed in the proposal appear to have been chosen specifically to guarantee the freedom of vigilante leader Jose Manuel Mireles, who was arrested on June 27 and has been a vocal critic of the government’s security strategy in Michoacan and its policy towards vigilante forces.

In January, the Mexican government reached an agreement with self-defense forces to institutionalize the groups and incorporate them into Rural Defense Units. Only a small portion of Michoacan’s vigilantes were able or willing to join the Rural Defense Units, however, which has put the rest squarely on the wrong side of the law.

SEE ALSO: Mexico’s Security Dilemma: Michoacan’s Militias

Mireles’ capture was met with widespread criticism and protests, including a campaign encouraging supporters to shave their heads in solidarity with Mireles, whose head was shaved in prison. Even before Mireles’ arrest, a survey conducted by Parametria showed that over 70 percent of respondents had a positive image of self-defense forces, meaning that supporting the groups could be politically advantageous for opposition groups.

Aside from political considerations, the proposed amnesty law could also free members of vigilante forces who participated in criminal activities. The proposal assumes that all of the vigilantes were motivated by a desire to protect their communities, but there have been indications some self-defense forces have criminalized and allegations that others were motivated purely by profits.   

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

JUDICIAL REFORM / 7 OCT 2011

Mexican military personnel who collaborate with organized criminal groups will now face treason charges and up to 60…

EXTORTION / 20 MAY 2019

Petty extortion has plagued business in Mexico City for years, but the recent killing of a local community leader angry…

INFOGRAPHICS / 9 NOV 2011

The current surge of drug violence does not make Mexico a failed state, but the country has a long history…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …