MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's government on Tuesday took the rare step of apologizing to three indigenous women who spent more than three years in prison after being falsely accused by prosecutors of kidnapping seven police officers and carrying cocaine.
The head of the attorney general's office, Raul Cervantes, said sorry to the women, who are from a small community in Queretaro, Central Mexico, and asked for their forgiveness, as part of damages ordered by a tribunal.
The case of Alberta Alcantara, Jacinta Francisco and Teresa Gonzalez has shone a light on widespread human rights abuses by Mexico's authorities and problems in the justice system.
A formal apology from authorities for wrongdoing is extremely uncommon in Mexico.
Mario Patron, head of the Pro Center for Human Rights, who fought the case for almost 10 years, said that accepting that the women were right was the minimum that the Mexican state could do.
He said that given the extraordinary rates of impunity, torture and "disappeared" people in Mexico, this should be considered an achievement.
Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Christine Murray; Editing by Bill Rigby