Head of Mexican Migration Authority Charged Over Deadly Juarez Fire

National Immigration Institute (INM) Commissioner Francisco Garduno arrives at the Federal Court to attend his appointment with a judge regarding the fire in a detention center where 40 migrants died, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico April 30, 2023. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
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MEXICO CITY, April 30 (Reuters) – A judge in northern Mexico has ordered the head of the national migration authority charged over a fire late last month that killed 40 migrants at a holding center in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, authorities said on Sunday.

After a lengthy hearing, the court in Ciudad Juarez said there was sufficient evidence to charge Francisco Garduno, head of the National Migration Institute (INM), for unlawful exercise of public office, the Federal Judicial Council said.

Garduno, an ally of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is not under arrest, but must report to authorities every two weeks. The investigation is set to conclude within four months.

After the announcement, Garduno told reporters he could not comment on details of an ongoing case, and that he would be paying close attention to efforts to provide reparations.

The fire, which authorities say began after one or more of the migrants set alight mattresses as a protest, killed 40 male migrants, most of them from Central America.

A video published online after the incident, apparently of security footage from the holding center during the blaze, showed men kicking on the bars of a locked door as uniformed people walk past without trying to open the door.

Reporting by Raul Cortes. Editing by Gerry Doyle
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