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Military Arrests Mexican Officer

March 18, 1999

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A Mexican army officer was arrested in sedition charges Wednesday for allegedly leading soldiers in a public protest.

Lt. Col. Hildegardo Bacilio Gomez was captured in a town plaza in Pachuca, 60 miles northeast of Mexico City, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Bacilio led about 50 uniformed soldiers on a march down Mexico City’s main boulevard on Dec. 18 to demand the abolition of what they called lengthy and outdated courts martial that are used to punish even minor offenses.

Many of the protesters had been dismissed or court-martialed by the Mexican army.

The soldiers appealed for protection to opposition party senators and to the civilian Interior Ministry. Newspapers reported the ministry had promised Bacilio would be allowed to leave the country, but he failed to show up for a planned flight to Venezuela days after the protest and apparently went into hiding.

The chief military prosecutor, Gen. Rafael Macedo de la Concha, had said Bacilio’s insubordination must be punished.

In addition to sedition and insubordination, Bacilio faces charges of conspiracy, defamation against the army, and desertion, the ministry statement said.

The army previously arrested a captain, two sergeants, and five lieutenants on sedition charges in connection with the protest.

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