Juarez labor lawyer freed from Tamaulipas jail, but told not to come back

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Susana Prieto Terrazas was accused of inciting riot and coercing maquiladora workers, threatening officials in Matamoros

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — A Juarez labor lawyer arrested last month in the state of Tamaulipas for allegedly inciting a riot among maquiladora workers has been released from jail.

Susana Prieto Terrazas on Thursday arrived at Juarez International Airport, where she was greeted by dozens of supporters.

Fond of social media, Prieto transmitted her June 8 arrest through Facebook Live as well as her release from Tamatan prison in Ciudad Victoria on Wednesday night.

Susana Prieto Terrazas (photo taken from Facebook)

“I am being exiled from Tamaulipas,” she said on Wednesday from inside a police car taking her from Ciudad Victoria to Monterrey, Mexico.

Prieto said a Tamaulipas state judge freed her under the condition that she not set foot in the state during the next two and a half years. She was also banned from leaving Mexico and told to stay in Chihuahua.

“This is unconstitutional … an affront to my right to freedom of transit. But, of course, everything about my case has been unconstitutional,” she said during a Facebook Live transmission in which she broke down in tears.

Prieto has long been organizing independent unions in Juarez and other border cities where U.S.-run factories known as maquiladoras operate. She gained prominence at the start of the year with her 20/32 movement, in which she called for a 20% wage increase for workers and a 32,000-peso ($1,600) bonus.

Her arrest in Matamoros on charges of inciting a riot, coercion and threats to public servants came some three weeks before the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was scheduled to take effect. Her release took place on the day the free trade deal kicked in.

Prieto thanked Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for her release, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Mexico. Her children and a brother live in the United States.

She said she would appeal the judge’s resolution kicking her out of Tamaulipas and that she would continue her activism.

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