A Mixtec Indian was exonerated of kidnapping and sex-abuse charges and released from custody after five years in pre-trial detention, according to the Asilegal organization.
The case of Roberto Pastrana "is emblematic in that it reflects the patterns of criminalization against young people and the indigenous population in particular, as well as the abuse of preventive prison," Asilegal said in a statement.
Pastrana was exonerated at a hearing on June 24, nearly five years after he was jailed at a detention facility in Tlapa de Comonfort, a municipality in the southern state of Guerrero, it added.
"He did not have adequate defense at the time of his arrest and was also not provided with an interpreter who could have explained the course of his legal proceedings," the organization said.
Asilegal began representing Pastrana this year and documented numerous irregularities in his case, including the fact he was jailed for nearly five years without a sentence.
The Indian man was accused in 2008 by the family of his then-fiancee of illegal privation of liberty for purposes of sexual abuse after he did not pay the bride price requested by the woman's family.
"The bride price is part of the traditional forms of marriage arrangement in the region and, according to Roberto's statement at prosecution, this consisted of '40 cartons of beer, 40 boxes of refreshments, two cows, 40,000 pesos and a party with a band,'" the statement said.
Pastrana said at the June 24 hearing that he did not refuse to pay the bride price but only asked for more time to come up with money and other items. The family did not accept the delay and filed a criminal complaint against him.
The gynecological exam by the physician assigned to the case found that the alleged victim had not suffered any type of sexual aggression.
Asilegal said that, according to figures from Mexico's National Penitentiary System, 48.8 percent of detainees in Guerrero have not been sentenced. EFE