Two motorcyclists leaving work in the northern Mexico city of San Luis Potosi were charged with terrorism after their loud exhaust pipes backfired and caused a panicked stampede.
The two charged, Juan Ramon Munguia and Enrique Trevino Rivera, were leaving their work near the main square of the city. The two men have stated that they usually warm up their engines in this location every day, however, witnesses claim the men purposely continued to rev their engines even after the panic began.
Hundreds of people were in the main square that night participating in a Holy Week event when they mistook the backfiring exhaust pipes for gunshots. The streets were partially blocked by vendors and as a result some people were trampled, although no major injuries occurred. “There is possible blame that can be attributed to city authorities who allowed vendors to set up stands in the square without the appropriate controls, which prevented a rapid evacuation,” stated the Human Rights Commission in a statement on Wednesday. However, according to their statement the terrorism charges are completely out of line. “The arrests and charges of terrorism lack any legal basis.
Reports also state the two motorcyclists may have been beaten by police after their arrest.
If the men are found guilty of these charges they could face sentences of five to twenty years in prison. This is not the first time charges such as these have been filed in Mexico. This past September, two people in Veracruz were charged with terrorism after posting on social networking sites rumors of mass attacks by criminals. Yet these charges were eventually dropped after a public outcry.