VERACRUZ, Mexico – The governor of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz said on Wednesday that his predecessor, currently jailed awaiting trial on corruption charges, will stay locked up despite a decision by Mexican federal prosecutors to withdraw one of the accusations against him.
“He (Javier Duarte) has both feet in jail and should remain there for many years,” Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes told a press conference.
Duarte is accused of embezzling 58 billion pesos ($3 billion) in public funds during his 2010-2016 tenure.
The Mexican Attorney General’s Office recently amended its indictment against Duarte by dropping a racketeering charge, which opens the door for the former governor to apply for release on bail.
But Yunes pointed out that Duarte also faces state charges for forced disappearance, meaning that even if he were released from federal custody, he would be imprisoned in Veracruz.
Duarte left office on Oct. 12, 2016, 48 days before his term ended, supposedly to face the corruption accusations against him, and immediately disappeared.
After six months as a fugitive, Duarte was arrested on April 15, 2017, in the lobby of a luxurious hotel in Panajachel, Guatemala, and was later extradited to Mexico.
Meanwhile, his wife, Karime Macias, who remains a fugitive from corruption charges in a separate case, was spotted a few months ago in the affluent London neighborhood of Belgravia.
Veracruz is one of the most violent and unequal states in Mexico.
During Duarte’s administration, 17 journalists were killed and three others are still missing.