A Mexican senator accused of links to a drug cartel voluntarily gave up her immunity from prosecution and asked the Attorney General's Office to investigate the allegations.
Iris Vianey Mendoza, a member of the center-left PRD from the western state of Michoacan, obtained a 30-day leave of absence from the Senate.
"I call on the Attorney General's Office to carry out the investigation in this period of 30 days," she said from the Senate podium. "I tell you with my head held high that I have nothing to be ashamed of."
Mendoza took the step of forfeiting her immunity a day after a leader of one of the militias established in Michoacan over the past year to protect communities from organized crime accused her of having connections to the Caballeros Templarios drug cartel, the state's most powerful mob.
Besides seeking a probe by the AG's office, the senator asked for the creation of a special legislative committee to examine the charges against her.
Mendoza is not only close to cartel leaders, but she organized a visit to the Senate by several Templarios, vigilante leader Jose Manuel Mireles told MVS Radio.
"The statements against my person, made in the context of the confrontations that are unfolding in Michoacan, are a genuine death threat against me and my family," Mendoza said in applying for a leave of absence.
It was "extremely serious and irresponsible to launch the slander and to not have the courage - someone who carries a submachine gun in his hand - to refuse to debate a woman who denies his rash assertions," she said, alluding to Mireles.
A photograph circulating on social networks in Mexico shows Mendoza with Melissa Plancarte, daughter of reputed Templarios capo Enrique Plancarte Solis.
In a statement praising Mendoza's decision, PRD chairman Jesus Zambrano urged other lawmakers facing similar accusations to follow her example and submit to investigations. EFE