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  • Yaqui Tribe Spokesperson Formally Charged
Published 17 September 2014

Human rights and civil organizations call for the release of Mario Liuna. They claim that charges are politically motivated.

The Yaqui tribe confirmed Wednesday that a formal detention order has been issued against Mario Luna Romero.

Romero is the spokesman of an indigenous group that opposes the operation of the Independence Aqueduct, that carries water from the Yaqui River to the State’s capital.

Mario Luna faces a long legal process after being accused of the crimes of kidnapping and grand theft auto, allegedly committed against another member of the Yaqui.

However members of the tribe itself and the Citizens Movement for Water cite political reasons for the arrest last week.

His detention takes place against the backdrop of a dispute over water in Yaqui territory.

Luna was openly opposed to the construction and operation of the 107 - mile long aquifer slated to transport 60 million cubic meters of water per year across the basin. He was also active against Sonora state governor Guillermo Padres Elias of the National Action Party (PAN).

Tribe members have also denounced that law enforcement authorities are searching for other members of the group that oppose the operation of the aqueduct under the same charges, which they claim are also false.

Last week, tribe members announced that Luna had been detained by several men in civilian clothing and travelling in unidentified cars.

Later the authorities said the officers who had detained him were carrying out an arrest warrant that was issued against Luna on June 14 2013, by the Criminal Court of Hermosillo, Sonora.

Human rights and civil organizations, as well as some senators, have called for Mario Luna’s release.

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