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Friday, 9 November, 2001, 15:32 GMT
Mexico releases environmentalists

The Mexican president, Vicente Fox, has ordered the early release of two prominent environmental activists convicted on drugs and weapons charges.

Mr Fox said he had decided to pardon the two activists , Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, on humanitarian grounds.

They had led protests against illegal logging in the central state of Guerrero.

The men said they were tortured to force them to sign confessions.

Their release comes at a time when President Fox is facing mounting criticism for his administration's alleged failure to act more firmly against human rights abuses.

Last month, a prominent human rights lawyer, Digna Ochoa, who had worked on the environmentalists' case, was shot dead in Mexico City.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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