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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 23:20 GMT 00:20 UK
Mexico genocide charges dropped
Former President Luis Echeverria
Echeverria was interior minister at the time of the killings
Ex-Mexican President Luis Echeverria has been cleared of genocide charges after a judge ruled the alleged events took place too long ago.

Mr Echeverria, 84, has been released from the house arrest that was ordered on 30 June, his lawyer said.

The former president was accused of involvement in the deaths of up to 300 students when troops opened fire on protesters in 1968.

The judge ruled the matter was beyond the nation's statute of limitations.

Denial

Mr Echeverria was interior minister in 1968 at the time of the killings in Tlatelolco Square in Mexico City.

He denied allegations that he posted snipers on scores of buildings and gave orders to shoot anti-government protesters.

"Nothing proves that I was the author of or participated in any crime," Mr Echeverria said recently in a written statement.

"To say that genocide was committed against students on 2 October 1968 is an absurd distortion of the clash that happened that day," his statement said.

An appeals court recently delivered a surprise ruling that there was enough evidence to support genocide charges.

Mr Echeverria was president from 1970 to 1976 during which hundreds of people died or disappeared during the "Dirty War" on leftists.


SEE ALSO
Ex-leader denies Mexico massacre
06 Jul 06 |  Americas
Warrant for Mexico ex-president
30 Jun 06 |  Americas
Mexico rejects 'dirty war' leak
02 Mar 06 |  Americas
Mexico 'dirty war' crimes alleged
27 Feb 06 |  Americas
Mexico ex-leader genocide charge
20 Sep 05 |  Americas
Mexico allows 'dirty war' trials
30 Jun 04 |  Americas

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