A man spent 21 years in prison for a crime that never happened: the alleged victim lived in the United States

The Mexican Manuel Valdovinos he was tortured into confessing to a crime he did not commit. After passing 21 years in jail for murder, he was benefited by an amnesty law and was released. But this legal measure did not remove his “criminal record.” For justice he is still a man with a criminal past.

But Valdovinos, a humble music teacher, never committed a crime. Is innocent. He was convicted in 2003 of killing a young man his age. Three years later it was discovered that the body did not match that of the victim. But he was still detained. Up to now… when his family found the “murdered” young man, alive, in the United States.

The man was released last Saturday. This Tuesday he spoke to the press and told his sad story. In a short account, he recounted that the authorities didn’t even ask for forgiveness and he denounced that he also had a “criminal record” that prevents him from aspiring to some jobs.

“This was not a reintegration, it was a joke“, he claimed.

His case shocks all of Mexico today.

The campaign for his release

After finding the “victim” in the United States, the family began a campaign to demand the release of Valdovinos.

The claims reached the National Congress. Then on May 27, the deputy Pedro César Carrizales, known as El Mijis, and the activist Bryan LeBaron, began a hunger strike in front of the National Palace, where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador resides, to demand the release of Valdovinos.

After analyzing the case, the Special Commission for Monitoring the Amnesty Law of the State of Mexico determined the immediate release of Valdovinos, who was received by his family at the gates of the Almoloya de Juárez prison.

In his statements to journalists, he said that “Mexico is a country where justice is upside down. Those of us who must have justice have evasions and arbitrariness. If they do not exert pressure with the hunger strike, I am not here today, “he said.

How was the case

Valdovinos worked as a music teacher in the city of Texcoco, on the outskirts of Mexico City. On May 26, 2000, he was arrested. To his surprise, he was accused of murdering a young man. He was then 21 years old.

According to the complaint, eight agents of the Judicial Police entered his home violently and extracted a confession from him under torture. The newspaper The Day revealed that “in a warehouse They hung him on chains, beat him and gave him electric shocks, then they put him in a jar of ice water so that the attacks would not be noticed ”.

Before midnight he was presented to the Public Ministry with a confession made by hand by the police themselves and signed by Valdovinos after the torture.

The man always claimed to be innocent. But in 2003 he was sentenced to 41 years in prison. But three years later it was proven, through DNA testing, that he corpse did not correspond to the alleged victim of Valdovinos.

However, the Justice dismissed the evidence and the man remained imprisoned for another 18 years until his family finally found the person he allegedly murdered two decades ago in the United States.

Valdovinos said that in his years in prison he saw “many people who without legal support had their freedom.” He even said that his suffering was so great that he would have preferred “to have remained dead” in the torture room.

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