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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June, 2005, 04:56 GMT 05:56 UK
Mexico frees ex-leader's brother
By Ian Bruce
BBC News, Mexico City

A court in Mexico has ordered the release of Raul Salinas de Gortari, brother of the former President, Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

His conviction for organising the murder of a senior politician in 1994 has been quashed.

The evidence against him was insufficient; his appeal was granted.

Mr Salinas had served 10 years of a 27-year sentence, but he always protested his innocence and described himself as a political prisoner.

He is expected to walk free early next week.

Mr Salinas was given his 27-year sentence in 1995 for supposedly ordering the murder of his former brother-in-law, Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu, general secretary of the PRI - the party that had governed Mexico for seven decades.

That killing and a series of other scandals involving the family of the-then President Salinas plunged the Mexican political system into one of its deepest crises.

Raul Salinas himself succeeded in fighting off a series of corruption allegations, both in Mexico and Switzerland.

There are still some lesser charges of illicit enrichment pending.

But now, he will be allowed to face these on bail.

In a recent interview from prison with the Financial Times he admitted he had abused his position, but said the only illegal thing he had done had been to obtain a false passport.

His brother, Carlos Salinas, has spent most of the last 10 years in self-imposed exile in Ireland and England.

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