When 40 migrants died in a fire at a border detention center in March, a judge ordered the head of Mexico’s immigration agency to stand trial on charges that he failed in his duty to protect those in his custody.
Francisco Garduo will continue working and will not be imprisoned during the proceedings. In order to avoid a trial, his attorney, Rodolfo Pérez, told The Associated Press that they would attempt to come to a settlement for compensation to the victims.
Garduo told the media late on Sunday as he left the court in the border town of Ciudad Juárez, “I will keep working… until ordered otherwise.
Federal prosecutors said that Garduño was responsible for the safety of the country’s immigration facilities and that there was evidence that he knew that Ciudad Juárez’s detention center lacked basic safety measures but he did nothing to change it.
The judge denied the prosecutors’ request that Garduño be removed from his position. He will have to present himself to the court every two weeks.
Garduño defense team said that a private firm was responsible for security at the facility, not government officials.
A migrant allegedly started a fire inside the Ciudad Juarez detention center on March 27. Security cameras inside the facility showed smoke quickly filling the cell holding 68 male migrants, but no one with keys attempted to rescue them. In addition to the 40 killed, more than two dozen were injured in the fire.