Accessibility links

Former Mexican President's Brother Freed

In Mexico, Raul Salinas, the older brother of former President Carlos Salinas, is celebrating his freedom after a decade in jail. The elder Mr. Salinas was freed after an appeals court overturned his murder conspiracy conviction in the death of a prominent politician.

Raul Salinas was convicted of masterminding the murder in 1994 of Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, who was the secretary general of the then-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as PRI. He was gunned down on a Mexico City street, as he left a meeting.

Some months later, Mr. Salinas voluntarily returned from the United States at the request of Mexican authorities who asked him to help them with two murder investigations, because he knew both victims well. Mr. Salinas said he invited the prosecutors to his sister's house, and then...

"The investigators arrived. We took them to the parlor, and we started explaining to them what we knew. And, suddenly, a hundred elements of the Federal Police were there with their guns, threatening my family and taking me, arrested, to jail for a murder I did not commit," said Mr. Salinas.

Attorney Alonso Aguilar Zinser says there was never any evidence against Mr. Salinas, and a key witness was not credible. Mr. Aguilar prepared Mr. Salinas' final appeal of his conviction and 27-year prison sentence. This took four years. The trial and first appeal took six years.

"The magistrates had to read 200,000 pages. The appeal had 750 pages, and the sentence that was appealed had 18,000 pages. To explain to you this thing, the sentence that absolved Raul Salinas, had 7,000 pages," he explained.

Even after the conspiracy to commit murder conviction was thrown out, the Salinas family had to post nearly $3 million in bail, because Mr. Salinas still faces a charge of illegal enrichment, which he also denies.

Mr. Salinas described what his newly won freedom means to him.

"For 10 years, I could not open a door, because I was not allowed. To be free is to have the right to open the door of your room," he exclaimed.

Attorney Aguilar says that the case against Raul Salinas has been a prolonged miscarriage of justice.

"It's not correct that one guy spends 10 years in jail, and then receives a resolution saying 'excuse me you're innocent,'" added Mr. Aguilar.

Raul Salinas says he is now working to clear his name, concerning the remaining charge against him.