On April 26th of 2023, Honorio and Margarito were released from Tanivet Prison. They are two Afro-Mexicans who were arbitrarily detained since December 2011 and accused of crimes they did not commit.
After more than twelve years, they were released as their responsibility for the crimes they were accused of was not proven. Through arduous defense work by the Gobixha Committee for the Integral Defense of Human Rights (Codigo DH) and the legal team that accompanied the case during these years, it was possible to demonstrate that Honorio and Margarito were not responsible, in addition to the fact that they were tortured.
The defense of Honorio and Margarito represents a paradigmatic case in which torture, inequality, discrimination, and institutional racism set the tone for the progress of the judicial process they had to face in the State of Oaxaca.
Taking as a legal alternative the dismissal of the criminal proceedings, after twelve years the Second Mixed Court of Puerto Escondido decided to grant them their freedom. In this sense, few are the judges and prosecutors who are determined to use the mechanisms provided by the criminal legislation, considering the irregularities or violations of due process. Therefore, we celebrate the decision.
The release of Honorio and Margarito is the tip of the iceberg in judicial material to demonstrate that the performance of medical and psychological evaluations in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol plays a fundamental role in eradicating the practice of torture in our country.
Although the professionalization of experts in this field is not institutionally guaranteed, the recognition of independent experts provided for in the General Law to Prevent, Investigate and Punish Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is an alternative that should not be left aside, especially to prevent more people from facing such lengthy proceedings.
Today is a decisive step forward and we hope it will be the new judicial route to avoid the deprivation of liberty of people who are not responsible for the commission of criminal acts. Although the right to liberty can be restricted when committing an infraction or crime, its prolongation can become arbitrary or even illegal if it is not fully justified.