Framing: the Debate
A judge in Mexico is expected to issue a ruling within days on the appeal of two environmental activists who have been convicted of illegally possessing drugs and guns even though the country’s National Human Rights Commission has found that they were framed. The two activists, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, say they were arrested because they led locals in the southwestern state of Guerrero in protests aimed at stopping excessive logging of old-growth trees, which was causing widespread erosion and declines in water quality. In a jailhouse interview, Montiel, who was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize earlier this year, said logger kingpins hold all the cards in his region. “Because they have made money from the wood, they can hire gunmen and pay off the government,” he said. Supporters of the activists say they were tortured into confessing to trumped-up charges, and Amnesty International has named them prisoners of conscience.