Mexico frees 16 under amnesty program; most activists

January 8, 2019
Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during the presentation of his new economic program for the northern border zone, in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico has freed the first 16 inmates under an amnesty program started by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador when he took office on Dec. 1.

Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero says a total of 368 cases are being reviewed by an amnesty panel on a case-by-case basis.

Many had not had proper legal representation, or had been awaiting trial for years. The amnesty doesn’t include pardons, and often just involves speeding up long-delayed cases.

Sanchez Cordero wouldn’t release the names or charges against those released because of privacy concerns.

But she said many of the 368 cases under review involved environmental or anti-fracking activists. The program had also planned to focus on farm workers jailed for planting drug crops or small-scale drug possession cases.

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