Presumed Guilty

Wednesday 25 January 6.30pm
City University London
Mexico 2008
Directors: Roberto Hemandez, Geoffrey Smith
Language: Spanish and English subtitles

Antonio Zuniga was a 26-year-old street vendor and aspiring dancer/rapper when in December 2005 police grabbed him off a Mexico City street and shoved him into a police car.

For 48 hours he was put in a holding cell at a stationhouse, and held incommunicado without being told the charges against him. His repeated questions only met with the accusation “You know what you did.”

Zuniga learned of the charges only when another detainee asked him “Are you the guy accused of murder?” He later found out that he was accused of the shooting death of a young man named Juan Reyes. Zuniga went to a closed-door trial knowing that no physical evidence linked him to the crime and that several witnesses would testify that he was at his market stall at the time of the murder. Moreover, he had no link to the victim, no motive and no criminal history.

The judge, Hector Palomares, found Zuniga guilty and sentenced him to 20 years behind bars.

Zuniga's sudden abduction by police off the street