Eight ex-officials to face trial for Mexico metro collapse

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Eight former officials will face prosecution over a Mexico City metro crash that left 26 people dead and dozens injured last year, a lawyer said Wednesday.

A judge determined at a hearing that there was sufficient grounds for the defendants to face trial, Teofilo Benitez, who represents some of the victims, told reporters.

The ex-officials were responsible for the construction, design and safety of the damaged section, and will be tried on charges including homicide.

Relatives of the victims have demanded justice for the disaster, which saw an elevated section of track collapse in May 2021, bringing a passenger train crashing down.

An investigation by Norwegian engineering company DNV, hired by the city hall, concluded that the accident was caused by structural flaws including problems with beams and bolts.

The defendants served during the tenure of Mexico City's then mayor Marcelo Ebrard, now foreign minister and a contender to succeed President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in 2024.

The damaged line was built and inaugurated under Ebrard, who was mayor from 2006-2012.

No official serving under current Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, another presidential hopeful, has been charged in connection with the crash.

A lawyer for some of the defendants has alleged an attempt to protect Sheinbaum's political career.

"If the true cause of the Line 12 tragedy were investigated... the case would escalate to the current mayor and affect her presidential aspirations," Gabriel Regino tweeted last week.

In May, Sheinbaum's administration rejected DNV's conclusions, saying they contained various "deficiencies and inconsistencies."

Sheinbaum criticized DNV's final report as "badly done" and "used for political purposes."

According to leaks of the report, experts pointed to a lack of maintenance as one of the reasons for the collapse, which would raise questions for Sheinbaum, who took office in 2018.

Lopez Obrador quickly came to the defense of his ally and potential successor, describing her as "an upright and honest woman."

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