The audacity to lock up knowledge
Can you imagine the terrible legal uncertainty and experience of unjust persecution that would cause you to receive an investigative police officer from the attorney general’s office in your home to warn you that you would receive a summons to dedicate your work to scientific investigation and have served as a public official?
They were never called to make statements or receive the summons in which they were initially intimidated. Thus began the nightmare of the more than twenty academics who had held positions in directorates, deputy directors, and others of lower rank in the National Council for Science and Research, CONSET, or had been technical secretaries of AC in the previous six terms.
The features of the accused could not be more distant from the image of a group of criminals. Many of them are scholars of great national and international prestige, some of them younger in their early career, members of very diverse public universities (UNAM, UAM, IPN, state universities), in many public research centers, important academies and national and international scientific societies.
This research on scientists was preceded by the plagiarism scandal of a dissertation signed by the current Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero, which was exposed after his attempt to obtain a third place in the national system of researchers. It was rejected by those who evaluated the application several times due to lack of experience in the field of academic and scientific research.
Immediately thereafter, the Office of the Special Prosecutor for the Investigation of Federal Crimes opened an investigation file to manage the resources of the AC Forum, which was added to it to include the alleged crimes of operations with resources of illicit origin. With this pretext, the matter was transferred to the Special Prosecutor’s Office for the Investigation of Organized Crime (FEMDO), in the unit specialized in the investigation of operations with resources of illicit origin and currency counterfeiting or alteration.
They are accused of forming a criminal organization made up of former Conacyt officials and former Forum Board employees to transfer resources to AC. CA, cannot receive federal resources from Conacyt, which in the eyes of the FGR is turning them into a criminal network.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic filed a criminal case against 31 people, including 25 academics. The charges are so great that they involve unofficial imprisonment. It is not only intended to intimidate, but put behind bars those who try to practice science that does not align with political interests.
Fortunately, after two attempts, the judges who received the criminal case refused to grant the FGR the arrest warrants requested by the Public Prosecution Office, arguing that the prosecution’s approach was insufficient and the data necessary to be able to analyze the facts were not provided. The intervention of all concerned persons.
Can this act of intimidation of criminal prosecution against 31 researchers and academics be interpreted as one of the anti-intellectual purges of the Lopez Obrador government?
Let’s remember that the federal government began to weaken investigations that could question the scientific arguments in the performance of his presidency, and money from private donations disappears. They were uncomfortable that this funding was intended to investigate extrajudicial executions, corruption, social programs, and inequality. This persecution is also a deep reaction, while the Supreme Court of Justice warned that the fund did not carry out any illegal operation, despite the fact that it denied lifting the protection when they stopped receiving the resources.
Science is free or not science, and no prison can subdue it.