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Garduño trial to begin in four months for death of 40 migrants inside INM facility

Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua — Francisco Garduño, head of the National Migration Institute (INM), will go on trial for the March 27 fire in Ciudad Juárez. The fire, which happened inside INM facilities, killed 40 migrants and injured 27 who were being held at the center.

On Sunday, a judge decided to move ahead with legal proceedings against Garduño for the alleged crime of improper exercise of public service. The 74-year-old head of the INM will not be imprisoned during his trial, nor will be be removed from his position at INM.

During his imputation hearing, the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) presented documents that show Garduño, as head of the National Migration Institute, has among his responsibilities the safeguarding and protection of migrants as well as the institute’s facilities “without prejudice to the fact that his subordinates did.”

It was also reported that the official knew about the poor conditions of the detention center where the migrants were staying, that conditions were overcrowded and that they were locked in a cell whose keys were not located at the time of the fire.

The defense pointed out that Garduño is responsible for attending to more than 4 million foreigners into Mexico of which at least 1.9 million do so irregularly through the almost 80 checkpoints around the country and that he cannot be at different places at the same time.

The judge agreed with the defense that Garduño cannot monitor all the points at the same time, but agreed that he was obliged to prevent, preserve, supervise and safeguard the human rights of the migrants.

The FGR requested that Garduño be removed from his position due to the investigation, however, on Monday during the morning press conference, the head of the Ministry of the Interior, Adán Augusto López, confirmed that Garduño will continue to lead the INM.

The judge requires him to appear before the courts every two weeks as a precautionary measure. His trial is expected to start in four months.