Oaxaca: “Justice in Mexico is slow and selective, and it leaves victims without protection”: Euro-deputies on the Copala case

March 10, 2015

betycarino

Photo: Cuartoscuro/Archive

In mid-February, a committee of female deputies from the European Parliament who participate in the Mixed Parliamentary Commission (CPM) Mexico-European Union lamented that in Mexico justice is slow, selective, and dismissive of protection for the families of victims, after finishing a meeting with Oaxacan officials.  During their seventh visit to Mexico, they came to assess progress in the investigation of the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, of Finnish citizenship, on 27 April 2010, as they were participating in a humanitarian-aid caravan toward San Juan Copala.  One member of the committee held that it is incredible that, five years after the murders, the Mexican authorities had only made two arrests, and that the 11 arrest-orders against the presumed killers who serve in public office go unobserved.  “The advance in the process has been incredibly slow.  As a European I can really say that this is a simple case that could have been resolved very rapidly, because from the start it has been clear who those responsible have been, but now the lawyers must seek out the suspects as well as possible witnesses.  That is very strange,” she said.

Beyond this, the National Association of Democratic Laywers (ANAD) denounced that two of the principal witnesses in the case are at risk because they have been threatened by members of Unity for Social Welfare in the Triqui Region (UBISORT), thus leading them to request political asylum in Finland or another European country.  The Euro-deputies said it would be “disastrous” for the Mexican government if the two primary witnesses in the case find it necessary to flee the country.  “Until November 2014 there was a clear commitment to protect the witnesses with concrete measures, but for some reason it now seems that there is no agreement about who will do it now.  There is a sort of back-and-forth among the federal and state authorities.  It is unacceptable that the victims suffer, and that impunity prevail,” stressed the deputies.

Another of the representatives affirmed that “the case of Jyri and Bety is a possible opening to defy impunity.  It is an emblematic case that exemplifies how a relatively straightforward case can be converted into a process full of injustice.”  She added that, “If this case has been so slow, despite all the public attention it has received, we ask how it is for those victims whose cases go unheard.”  The legislators have announced that they will continue to return to Mexico until the Cariño and Jaakkola case is resolved.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen a dos funcionarios de Oaxaca por el homicidio de los activistas Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Animal Político, 2 de marzo de 2015)

La justicia en México es lenta y selectiva, y no busca proteger a las víctimas: Eurodiputadas (Sin embargo, 23 de febrero de 2015)

Eurodiputadas piden proteger a testigos del caso Bety Cariño (CIMAC Noticias, 18 de febrero de 2015)

Eurodiputadas exigen avance en caso Jaakkola (La Jornada, 22 de febrero de 2015)

¿Cómo se ve México desde el extranjero? Corrupto y con dolor, dicen periodistas en EU (Sin embargo, 21 de febrero de 2015)

Testigos del crimen de los activistas Cariño y Jaakkola pedirán asilo político en Finlandia (Proceso, 11 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

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

Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice (7 December 2014)

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)


Oaxaca: Two female witnesses threatened in the murder case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

March 1, 2015

Conferencia de prensa ante amenazas (@CENCOS)

Press-conference regarding threats (@CENCOS)

In a press-conference, members of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD) denounced the threats received by two female witnesses in the case of the murders of the activists Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola (Finnish) in San Juan Copalá, a Triqui region of Oaxaca, in 2010.  Karla Michel Salas of ANAD explained that after the arrest of Elías Cruz Merino, “on 25 January the UBISOR leader, Antonio Cruz García, the father of Elías, who is also a municipal authority in Juxtlahuaca, arrived with a truck and armed men to the homes of the witnesses and he told them that they were coming to take them to Oaxaca City so that they would renounce their accusations against Elías, who until 31 December had acted as the Minister of Education for the municipality.”  The women resisted “in light of the risk of being forcibly disappeared.”  Michel Salas added that “the federal and state authorities know that there is great risk.  The risk is so great, in fact, that during the latest audiences that have been carried out, the judge has been strongly protected by more than 30 fully armed investigative police.”

Amidst the lack of protection and effective responses on the part of the authorities, the ANAD reported that it had decided to protect them itself with its own resources in a safety-house and request that Finland grant them asylum for humanitarian reasons.

Omar Esparza, the widower of Bety Cariño, indicated that the father of Elías Cruz Merino returned thereafter to threaten the entire community, that if “these women testified, he would do something to them with his own hands.”  The ANAD lawyers in the end denounced the intimidation and harassment of the judge and prosecutor who are elaborating the case against the UBISORT group, in addition to indirect threats against ANAD and relatives of Bety and Jyri.

For more information (in Spanish):

Acoso contra testigos del homicidio de un defensor y una defensora de los derechos humanos (Acción Urgente, Amnistía Internacional, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Denuncian amenazas de paramilitares a testigos del asesinato de activistas (La Jornada, 12 de febrero de 2015)

Testigos del crimen de los activistas Cariño y Jaakkola pedirán asilo político en Finlandia (Proceso, 11 de febrero de 2015)

En riesgo, mujeres testigos del caso Bety Cariño (CIMAC Noticias, 11 de febrero de 2015)

Denuncian amenazas a testigos del caso de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola(CENCOS, 11 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice (7 December 2014)

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)


Oaxaca: 4 years and 7 months on, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola is apprehended

February 8, 2015

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On 21 January, Elías Cruz Merino, leader of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) and official of San Juan Copala, was arrested as one of the presumed murderers of the human-rights defenders Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Finnish).  Both were killed in April 2010 as they participated in a humanitarian caravan headed to San Juan Copala.  Cruz Merino is accused of the premeditated murder of the two activists.

Since April of last year, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers denounced that those responsible for the murders had been plainly identified, but that the government had refused to implement the corresponding arrest-orders.

Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño and leader of the Indigenous Zapatista Agrarian Movement (MAIZ), affirmed that this arrest constitutes an advance, but he observed that 10 other arrest-orders remain unobserved.  He noted: “For us it is clear that they continue to be protected by certain power-groups in Oaxaca.  Still, we will continue to demand that justice not be delayed but instead expedited.”    Esparza Zárate also announced that European parliamentarians will carry out a visit to Mexico in February to pressure the Mexican State and continue demanding justice.

For more information (in Spanish):

Capturan a policía implicado en crimen de los activistas Cariño y Jaakkola (Proceso, 22 de enero de 2015)

Encarcelan a dirigente del MULT por homicidio de ‘Bety’ Cariño y de finlandés (Radio Formula, 22 de enero de 2015)

Capturan a presunto homicida de Bety Cariño (Noticias.net, 23 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice (7 December 2014)

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)


Oaxaca: Parents of Jyri Jaakkola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice

December 7, 2014

Foto @ SIPAZ

Photo @ Cencos

Starting on 5 November, Eve y Raimo Jaakkola, parents of the Finnish activist Jyri Jaakkola, carried out their fifth visit to Mexico to meet Mexican authorities and demand punishment for those responsible for the murder of their son and of Bety Cariño, who died in an ambush in April 2010 conducted by a paramilitary group in San Juan Copala, Oaxaca.  Since then, 4 and a half years have passed, and though an agreement was made between relatives and lawyers on the one hand and the federal government on the other, impunity persists for the murders of Bety and Jyri, and the existing arrest-orders have yet to be implemented.  These agreements were made on 14 May of this year, after Omar Esparza Zárate, widower of Bety Cariño, launched a hunger strike of 16 days in front of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to demand that the institution sign a list of agreements to guarantee justice in the case.

Furthermore, Jyri’s parents reported that they would newly request that the European Parliamentary Subcommittee on Human Rights demand the Mexican government to provide a report on the case.  “For me it is impossible to understand that in the first few weeks, we already knew who were the probable suspects, and they still have yet to be arrested […].  There are municipal authorities who are possibly responsible.  They go to Oaxaca to work, and there are arrest orders against them, but nothing happens,” noted Jyri’s mother.  She added that “the Eurodeputies see a connection between our case and that of Ayotzinapa.  They know that impunity exists behind these acts, and that this makes it likely that things like this will recur.”

Regarding the delay in arrests, Karla Michel Salas, lawyer with the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD), noted that the authorities have claimed that those responsible live in San Juan Copala and environs, where the group Unity and Social Welfare for the Triqui Region (UBISORT) holds power and “has arms and is dangerous.”  She added: “With this, the federal authorities accept that there is a region where the State cannot intervene, and where extra-legal groups terrorize the people.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Padres de Jyri Jaakkola exigen justicia por asesinato de su hijo y Bety Cariño (Cencos, 20 de noviembre de 2014)

Ningún avance para dar justicia por el asesinato de Bety Cariño (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 21 de noviembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)


Oaxaca: Hunger strike over murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola concludes upon conclusion of agreement with authorities

May 18, 2014

betyyjyry2

Omar Esparza, former husband of Bety Cariño, together with other persons in solidarity who had engaged in a hunger strike in front of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) in Mexico City have ended their protest after 16 days upon reaching an agreement with the Secretary of Governance (SEGOB), the PGR, and the Oaxacan State Attorney General’s Office in which the latter institutions agree to arrest the 12 presumed perpetrators of the murders of Betty and Jyri Jaakkola and to provide protection to witnesses of the murders.

“In essence, the agreement is a commitment to carry out actions to protect those who witnessed the murders and to arrest those responsible.  The authorities have never said that they would not do their work, but it all remained at the level of talk and good intentions; now we have it signed in writing, and this gives us much certainty and tranquility,” said Karla Michel Salas, president of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers.

Esparza noted that “This is a small victory, but not the final one.  Instead, it is a beginning and we are going to be attentive to seeing whether the authorities follow through with their commitments and perform their work.  It is a first step to make visible the impunity that prevailed in the case.”  He added that he would hold monthly meetings with the SEGOB to evaluate progress in the case.

Beyond this, the UN Office in Mexico of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has promised Esparza to continue following the case and to call on the governments of Enrique Peña Nieto and Gabino Cué to “promote pertinent actions to re-establish dialogue and reconstruct the social fabric in the community of San Juan de Copala toward the end of transcending the causes that have led to the present situation there.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Activistas levantarán huelga de hambre; acuerdan acciones para capturar a asesinos de Betty Cariño (SDP noticias, 14 de mayo de 2014)

Cumplen 15 días en huelga de hambre (Noticias, 14 de mayo de 2014)

Levantan familiares de Bety Cariño el plantón frente a instalaciones de la PGR (La Jornada, 15 de mayo de 2014)

ONU-DH toma nota de acciones de apoyo por huelga de hambre de Omar Esparza (Grupo Fórmula, 15 de mayo de 2014)

Insta ONU a Peña y Cué a solucionar el conflicto en Copala (Proceso, 15 de mayo de 2014)

Video: 13 dias en huelga de hambre exigiendo justicia para Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Serapaz, 14 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike (18 May 2014)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)


National/Oaxaca: Mothers of the disappeared express solidarity with Omar Esparza and his family on hunger strike

May 18, 2014

Omar Esparza con las madres de migrantes @ Brigada Solidaria

Omar Esparza with mothers of the disappeared @Brigada Solidaria

On 10 May, Mother’s Day, there was held the Third March for National Dignity in Mexico City on the part of mothers of victims of forced disappearances coming from more than a dozen Mexican states and even other countries to demand that their children be found.  A year and three months after the Secretary of Governance presented the National Registry for Disappeared Persons (Renped), and just days from the one-year anniversary of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) created its Special Office of Search for Disappeared Persons, hundreds of mothers and relatives of victims mobilized to denounce “that we do not know the total number of disappeared persons to date; we do not know how many persons the State has found; we do not understand why the federal government resorts to claiming that the task of resolving several disappearances belongs to local authorities, when the victims could be in any part of the republic or abroad.”

The latest formal report (February 2013) regarding the total number of the disappeared stressed that in the Renped there were registered 26,121 names.  However, “we do not know if the list released by the Secretary of Governance has been updated.”  It should be noted that, at the end of last year, 7166 names were excised from the Renped without any sort of explanation.

During the march, the mothers made a stop in support of the nearly 15 days of hunger strike taken by Omar Esparza, relatives, and members of civil society who installed themselves in front of the PGR starting on 29 April.  The hunger strike is a form of protest to demand the arrest of the 12 persons considered responsible for the murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.  The accused do have arrest-orders released against their names, but these have not been carried out to date.

For more information (in Spanish): Firma la petición de Amnistía Internacional Entrevista a Omar Esparza (Subversiones, 10 de mayo de 2014)

Exigen justicia a cuatro años del asesinato de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola(CENCOS, 6 de mayo de 2014)

“La violencia no tiene madre, las víctimas sí” (Animal Político, 11 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (2 May 2014)
Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)
Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)

Oaxaca: In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

May 2, 2014

Imagen @ Red Política

Image @ Red Política

On 27 April, four years passed since the murder of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola when they were participating in a humanitarian-aid caravan destined for San Juan Copala.  Members of the European Parliament and relatives affirmed that the cases could have been resolved within two months, but that the authorities have not demonstrated the necessary political will to do so.  Barbara Lochbihler, president of the Subcommission on Human Rights from the European Parliament, commented that “we have been discussing the situation of human-rights defenders and social activists in Mexico for nearly two months.  And year by year we see that the situation continues to worsen.”  Relatives denounced that, despite the fact that 13 people have been identified as the presumed murderers, the federal and state governments refuse to release arrest-orders against them.  For her part, Karla Michel Salas, president of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, stressed that “we know their names and that some of them even are public officials, but the arrest-orders are refused” using the argument that the government cannot itself enter the region of San Juan Copala.

It is for this reason that Omar Esparza, husband of Bety Cariño, and Eeva-Leena and Raimo Jaakkola, parents of the Finn Jyri, have initiated a day of national and international protest to obligate the Mexican State to observe its responsibility and to demand justice.  Esparza and two members of the Zapatista Indigenous Agrarian Movement (MAIZ) undertook a hunger strike in front o the UN High Commissioner’s Office for Human Rights on 29 April to denounce the failures of the Mexican State to respect human rights in this case.

For more information (in Spanish):

Al cumplirse 4 años, sigue impune el asesinato de la Defensora de Derechos Humanos Bety Cariño (Red de Mujeres Activistas y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos de Oaxaca, 24 de abril de 2014)

Bety Cariño, puente de organizaciones y amistades (Desinformémonos, 28 de abril de 2014)

Con huelga de hambre y protestas en Europa recordaran asesinato de Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Página3, 26 de abril de 2014)

Oaxaca: Es inaceptable la inacción de autoridades federales y estatales para detener a posibles responsables del asesinato de activistas(Amnistía Internacional México, 28 de abril de 2014)

Madre de activista finlandés asesinado en Oaxaca en 2010 acusa a México de negligencia y de ignorar su tragedia
Madre de activista finlandés asesinado en Oaxaca en 2010 acusa a México de negligencia y de ignorar su tragedia

Audio-video:

Familiares de Bety Cariño anuncian huelga de hambre (Cencos, 24 de abril de 2014)

Sembrando sueños, cosechando esperanzas: Bety Cariño (CodigoDH, abril de 2013)

Jyri Jaakola activista preocupado por los derechos humanos (Radio Camote, 19 de marzo 2012)

Message on the 4th anniversary of murders of Jyri Jaakkola & Bety Carino 27.4.2014 (Satu Hassi, 24 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Three-year impunity continues in the case of the murders of Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (17 May 2013)

Oaxaca: 12 arrest-orders released against presumed material authors of the murder of the Mexican defender Bety Cariño and the Finnish observer Jyri Jaakkola (12 October 2012)

Oaxaca: Meeting in front of the PGR against impunity in the case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola, nearly two years after their murders (21 April 2012)

Oaxaca: Eurodeputies in the case of Cariño and Jaakkola (17 October 2011)

Oaxaca: following the caravan “Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola” to San Juan Copalá (21 June 2010)

Distrito Federal: visiting Mexico, the parents of Jyri Jaakkola demand justice for the case of their son and that of Bety Cariño (9 September 2010)


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