Mexican prosecutors have asked a federal judge to jail 31 renowned Mexican scientists on charges of organized crime and money laundering, part of a growing dispute between the leftist government and the country’s leading academics and universities.
The judge has rejected similar petitions twice, claiming that there has been a lack of sufficient evidence against the individuals. On Wednesday, the government re-filed the petition for the third time. The scientists make up an independent advisory panel to the government’s science council.
Prosecutors are claiming that the 31 individuals illegally used $12 million of government money. However, members of the advisory committee maintained that they did nothing wrong and that the spending had been audited and approved by the government. The advisory has clashed with the government before, stemming from disputes over whether government funding for science should be nonpolitical or conducted with political and social goals.