Mexico’s Senate approves property seizure law

The Associated Press, 4/2/2009

Mexico’s Senate on Thursday unanimously approved legislation that would allow the government to seize property from suspected drug traffickers and other criminals before they are convicted.

Under existing laws, suspects must first be convicted before their property can be seized and trials often last years in Mexico. The new law allows prosecutors to ask a judge for a seizure order before the end of the trial.

The law covers property bought with income from, or used in connection with, organized crime, drug trafficking, kidnapping, human trafficking or vehicle theft. No compensation would be paid for any property seized.

“The aim is to create a legal framework so that Mexican government … can combat crime by reducing the financial resources that make it powerful and feed its impunity,” the Senate said in a statement.

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