Oaxaca: Omar Esparza denounces group contracted to murder him; threats against lawyers in the case of Bety and Jyri

Foto @ Aristegui Noticias

Photo @ Aristegui Noticias

Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño, a human-rights defender who died alongside Jyri Jaakkola for participating in a humanitarian-aid caravan to San Juan Copala in 2010, denounced the existence of an armed group that seeks to kill him, being contracted by Antonio Cruz (alias “Toño Bird), the leader of the Movement for Triqui Struggle and Unification (MULT), which is allied with the Union for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT). Omar Esparza holds the federal and state governments responsible for whatever attack he or his family would suffer, due to their failures to arrest all those responsible for the murders of Bety y Jyri. In an interview with Revolución Tres Punto Cero, Esparza indicated that “someone heard the conversation and told us to take the necessary security measures. It is not just a death-threat. There exists an armed group that has been hired to kill me.”

Beyond this, David Peña, lawyer from the National Association of Democratic Laywers (ANAD), declared in an interview with Aristegui CNN that the case is pending. Though three have been incarcerated, 10 arrest-orders are still open. He indicated that the “government of Finland (where Jyri Jaakkola had held citizenship) has been present and attentive to the process from the beginning. We have been accompanied by the Finnish Embassy, other embassies from the European Union, and the European Parliament itself held a special audience within the subcommittee on human rights.” He added that “this case was discussed by the Finnish president with Peña Nieto, who reiterated the Mexican State’s commitment to resolving the case. He has made this claim on three or four separate occasions. The problem is that the commitment Peña Nieto supposedy has is not translated into concrete actions.” Regardless, David Peña added that “there has been a near-total absence of the judiciary: no protection for witnesses, or investigation of those responsible. No resources for the arrest of the murderers, nor even now to guarantee the security of those who of us who are promoting the process, who in recent weeks have received death-threats and warnings to abandon the case.”

The lawyer explained the history of the Triqui region, wherein a group was created “by PRI governments with their finances. These groups have been publicly recognized, even by the Federal Attorney General’s Office, as a paramilitary group.” This group “attacked the caravan. We performed a process of documentation and investigation and succeeded in identifying who it was who attacked the caravan. Then the arrest-orders are released, but only three have been implemented, with 10 more pending. We are in an initial process of the trial against these three people, but the problem is that these put us at risk. Though we have 3 people incarcerated, 10 others are free, including two of the principal leaders. They have economic and military power, and with this protection or permissibility toward them on the part of politicians, they continue operating.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente: Preocupación por la seguridad de Omar Esparza, Viudo de Bety Cariño (Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos, 3 de junio de 2015)

Ausencia de la Federación en el caso del asesinato de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola: David Peña en CNN (Aristegui Noticias, 1 de junio de 2015)

Entrevista de Aristegui Noticias (29 de mayo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 5 years since the murder of human rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (28 April 2015)

Oaxaca: Two female witnesses threatened in the murder case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (March 1, 2015)

Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months later, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended (February 8, 2015)

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