Congressman Adam Smith issued the following statement on the recent United Nations Working Group Ruling in Nestora Salgado’s case and his continued efforts to advocate for her release:
February 4, 2016
“On February 1, 2016, the case of Renton resident Nestora Salgado received long overdue legitimacy from the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. In their legal decision dated December 17, 2015 made public this week, the international panel of independent human rights experts announced their conclusion that Nestora’s continued detention by the Mexican government is illegal and arbitrary. The formal UN Working Group Report calls for Nestora’s immediate release. Nestora has been imprisoned for over two years, following an August 2013 arrest for her leadership in a community police group in her hometown of Olinalá in the state of Guerrero.
“Throughout Nestora’s imprisonment, I have urged for her release. In August of 2014, I wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry to call attention to Nestora’s case and to alert the Department of State to the concerning abuses of human rights and due process Nestora has experienced throughout her detention. Since that time, I have engaged with U.S. and Mexican government officials in hopes of securing Nestora’s release and advocating for her safety and well-being.
“As part of my continued calls for her freedom, in October 2015 I again wrote to Secretary Kerry advocating for Department of State assistance for the Salgado family and Nestora’s legal advocate Seattle University School of Law Professor Thomas Antkowiak in advance of hearings at the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. The Department of State responded by attending the October 2015 hearings, meeting with the family, and continued engagement on Nestora’s case.
“My office has remained involved and in touch with the State Department and Professor Antkowiak in the wake of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission hearings. After being notified of the UN decision, my office immediately contacted Professor Antkowiak and the Department of State to advocate for leveraging the recent decision for Nestora’s immediate release.
“I am committed to working toward the safe return of Nestora to her family. The UN Working Group Report is further evidence that the Mexican government’s detention of Nestora is illegal and that she should be released immediately. It is unacceptable for the Mexican government to continue to imprison Nestora, and I will remain involved and engaged on this critical issue until she is released.”