National/Mexico: Torture and murder of journalist and four women

September 10, 2015

Foto @ Cuartoscuro

Photo @ Cuartoscuro

The photojournalist Rubén Espinosa Becerril, who specialized in covering social movements and militated against attacks on the press in Veracruz, was killed together with four women in Mexico City after having decided to move to the nation’s capital given that, since June, he had noted that armed persons were following him and taking pictures of him.  The photographer, who worked freelance for Proceso and Cuartoscuro, warned of his situation to Article 19, the international NGO that defends journalists, and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) based in New York.  “I have no faith in any State institution.  I do not have faith in the government.  Instead, I fear for my comrades and for myself,” he said.  The Proceso magazine expressed that he had “become a problematic photojournalist for the government,” given that Espinosa took the very photo of the Veracruz governor, Javier Duarte, which was published on the cover of the 1946 issue (15 February 2014) of Proceso, which bothered the potentate.  In Veracruz, the state government reportedly bought up a multiplicity of the issue.

Veracruz is considered the most dangerous state to conduct journalism in Mexico, as 13 journalists have been murdered and three disappeared since 2011, when Javier Duarte began to govern.  In July, Rubén Espinosa had been severe with the Veracruzan state government: “It is saddening to think of Veracruz.  There are no words to say how bad that state is, with that government and the state of the press, and how well-off is corruption.  Death seeks out Veracruz.  Death has decided to install itself there,” he observed in an interview.

The prosecutor Rodolfo Ríos said that “the bodies presented each with a gunshot wound in the head and excoriation in various parts.”  Espinosa and the four women were killed by coup de grace.  Beyond this, sources consulted by Sin Embargo added that the bodies showed signs of having been tortured for a prolonged period, while other media indicated that the women could have been raped.

The identity of the four women who were murdered has not been published in official media, but the names of two of them have been released.  One was a friend of Espinosa’s, named Nadia Vera Pérez.  She was an activist with the student movement #IAm132.  The other was Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro, 18 years of age, originally from Mexicali, Baja California.  Another could have been a Colombian woman of 29 years of age, but her name has yet to be released.  The fourth woman was identified as a domestic worker of 40 years of age.  She hailed from Mexico State.

On 2 August, hundreds of journalists, relatives, friends, and citizens carried out a rally at the Angel of Independence and a mobilization before the offices of the Veracruzan government, where they hung a black bun and images of the executed journalist.

For more information (in Spanish):

Rubén Espinosa, un fotógrafo ‘incómodo’ para el gobierno de Duarte (Proceso, 2 de agosto de 2015)

Hemeroteca de la revista Proceso sobre Rubén Espinosa

“La muerte escogió a Veracruz como su casa y decidió vivir ahí”, dice fotógrafo en el exilio (Sin embargo, 1 de julio de 2015)

Rubén Espinosa y las cuatro mujeres recibieron cada uno un tiro de gracia (El País, 3 de agosto de 2015)

Con tiro de gracia, fotoperiodista y 4 mujeres asesinados en la Narvarte (La Jornada, 3 de agosto de 2015)

La evidencia deja en ridículo la versión de “robo” de la PGJDF y pone en la mira a Javier Duarte (Sin embargo, 1 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Disappeared journalist Gregorio Jiménez is found dead (16 February 2014)

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

Oaxaca: New attacks on journalists (2 September 2014)

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National/Guerrero: Nine months after the Ayotzinapa atrocity, relatives express that they will not be silenced

July 3, 2015

9meses

@LaJornada

On 26 June, nine months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, parents of the youth and other groups mobilized in Mexico City, carrying out a rally and an artistic event of 43 hours in length that included poetry-readings and theater next to the Bellas Artes (Fine Arts) Palace. Felipe de la Cruz, the spokesperson for the movement of relatives of the disappeared, said that “just as we have remained firm from the beginning, so will we continue until our youth appear with life.” “We tell you, State, and we say to you that we will be the pebble in your shoe, because we are not going to be silent, and we are not going to stop on our path […]. We will not stop struggling until our sons are presented with life,” said another relative of the disappeared. Also in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, many social organizations united their demands toward the presentation with life of the youth, and they took to the streets to demand justice. Using slogans such as “Down with the State!” and “Investigate the military!” protestors also carried banners denouncing military harassment and educational reforms.

On 17 June, Proceso reported that one of the 43 disappeared students was an active soldier. Previously, a journalist had requested information from the Ministry for National Defense (SEDENA) inquiring into whether any of the disappeared students had been an active soldier. According to the editors, this approach had to do with “a line of investigation regarding the degree of infiltration o the State within the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School, which is considered by the political authorities to be a ‘fountain of guerrilleros.” SEDENA responded by saying that “we have found one person whose name corresponds to one of the 42 disappeared students from the Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School, following your request; however, the name is classified to protect personal data.” Amidst this revelation, relatives of the disappeared stressed that this “shows clearly the military’s responsibility” in the case. Subsequently, on 26 June, personnel from the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) visited the municipal landfill of Cocula, where in October of last year a clandestine mass-grave was discovered. Beyond this, the command of the Iguala Preventive Police was shuttered, with no further information provided regarding the aim sought by this move.

For more information (in Spanish):

No nos vamos a callar”: familiares a 9 meses del caso Ayotzinapa (CNN México, 26 de junio de 2015)

Manifestantes marchan en Guerrero a 9 meses de caso Ayotzinapa(Informador.mx, 26 de junio de 2015)

Personal de PGR acude a basurero de Cocula a 9 meses del caso Ayotzinapa (Proceso, 17 de junio de 2015)

A nueve meses de su desaparición, padres de normalistas dicen: “está muy cerca la verdad” (Proceso, 27 de junio de 2015)

Personal de PGR acude a basurero de Cocula a 9 meses del caso Ayotzinapa (CNN México, 26 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/Guerrero: Delegation of relatives and comrades of Ayotzinapa students tour CNI communities (29 June 2015)

Guerrero/National: 8 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, there is no progress (9 June 2015)

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa – seven months of impunity and struggling for justice (3 May 2015)

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)


Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and crime against humanity

April 10, 2015

20150205_164829Photo @SIPAZ

The first report from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), a branch of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), indicates that the forcible disappearance of the 43 students on 26 and 27 September 2014 in Iguala amounts to a crime against humanity.  The families of the youth and the organizations which accompany them welcomed this first conclusion from the GIEI.  They expressed that the primary recommendations, which call on the Mexican State to treat the case as a forcible disappearance, gives the hope that justice and truth will soon prevail.  Among the requests made by the Group, stress is placed on gaining access to a digital copy of the evidence that is available to the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), treating the case as a forcible disappearance, establishing a mechanism of medical attention for the relatives in the region, and urgently providing the comatose student Aldo Gutiérrez with a second neurological evaluation, beyond protecting the evidence that exists and continuing with the searches.

On 23 March, relatives of the students and representatives of civil organizations announced that the Mexican government lied to the IACHR during the audience on “Denunciations of forcible disappearance and impunity in Mexico.”  Manuel Olivares, director of the “José María Morelos y Pavón” Center for Human Rights, located in Chilapa, Guerrero, denounced that, contrary to what the State officials said, there existed no search protocol in the Ayotzinapa case, and that the demand for the presentation with live of the students has not been met, either.  “The response from the State is highly inadequate,” he concluded.

In other news, the report indicates that two units from the Reaction Force of the 27th Infantry Batallion, based in Iguala, were patrolling the streets from 11pm on 26 September until 6am the next day.  The soldiers saw the dead, invaded the hospitals in which the injured were found, and were fully knowledgeable of the gunfire and attacks.  On 27 September, the students were looking for their disappeared comrades in the streets, while others made reports to the Ministry of the Interior, but the report from the patrols provided by the 27th Batallion that day claims it to have been a day “without news.”  This information is contained within one of the documents provided to Proceso by the Secretary for National Defesne (SEDENA) in accordance with the Law on Transparency.

For more information (in Spanish):

Familiares de normalistas saludan informe de expertos de CIDH, que acusa desaparición forzada (Centro Prodh, 20 de marzo de 2015)

Insatisfactorias, respuestas de Estado ante CIDH por desaparición forzada (Centro Prodh, 23 de marzo de 2015)

En manos del PJF, petición de la CIDH sobre desaparición forzada (La Jornada, 24 de marzo de 2015)

Ayotzinapa: sus propios informes comprometen al Ejército (Proceso, 21 de marzo de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Arrival of IACHR group to Mexico provides hope in the Ayotzinapa case (21 March 2015)

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case (1 March 2015)

Guerrero: Amnesty International accuses PGR of failure to investigate participation of the Army in the Ayotzinapa case (5 February 2015)

Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case (29 December 2014)


Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case

December 29, 2014

twitter_maldito_ayotzinapa

Photo @SinEmbargo

According to an investigation published by the Proceso magazine, federal forces participated in the attack on the disappeared students on 26 September 2014.  The work carried out with the support of the Program for Investigative Journalism at the University of California Berkeley, based on testimonies, videos, unedited reports, and judicial declarations, shows that the federal police (PF) actively and directly participated in the attack.  The article indicates the contradictions that exist between the account provided by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the testimonies of those arrested, as well as those provided by students who survived the attack.  One of the key points in the investigation is that the Ayotzinapa students had been surveilled, such that the federal police knew of their arrival to Iguala.  It shows furthermore that the attack and forcible disappearance of the students was specifically directed at the ideological structure of the school they attended, given that of the 43 disappeared, one was a member of the Commitee for Student Struggle, the highest-ranking organ within the school’s administration, while 10 others were “budding political activists” associated with the Committee for Political and Ideological Orientation (COPI).

Beyond this, information has begun to appear in social networks that the majority of the disappeared students still live and are being held by the Army and federal police as part of a military intelligence operation.  The truth of these claims still has yet to be confirmed.  The communiqué was published presumably by soldiers of the Mexican Army who pertain to the 35th military zone (which includes Iguala); the sources in question no longer belong to the unit, as they were sent elsewhere or dismissed.  The objective of this operation, called “Az,” was to fracture “the transgressor groups of the school who disrupt order in Iguala by appropriating vehicles that are the property of the mayor, and bother people from various localities.”  According to the communiqué, “the transgressors were divided into 3 groups by military intelligence, with 21 sent to two military barracks for interrogation,” with the rest divided into two groups that were then sent to Cocula and Chilapa by municipal police and the “United Warriors” drug cartel.

Beyond this, on 14 December, confrontations in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, left 22 injured (14 of them teachers, parents, and students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, and 8 federal police).  The events took place when a group of students who were preparing a rock concert “A light in the darkness” were attacked with stones, beatings, and tear-gas by police.  “This is an act of police brutality that clearly seeks to silence the voices of the parents of the disappeared,” noted Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, lawyer for the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights. Omar García, director of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, related that despite the fact that the police had been told that “we were students, and that we were preparing the concert, they told us: ‘It matters not; we are going to even beat your mothers.'”  The parents of the disappeared accused the federal government of having provoked the incident deliberately.  The National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) has launched an investigation into the events in question.

For more information (in Spanish):

Filtración: “Los normalistas de Ayotzinapa están vivos, los tiene el Ejército mexicano” (RT, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Iguala: la historia no oficial (Proceso, 13 de diciembre de 2014)

COMUNICADO | Agrede Policía Federal a estudiantes y familiares de desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa durante la preparación de jornada cultural(Tlachinollan, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Investiga la CNDH hechos violentos en Chilpancingo (Proceso, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Caso Iguala: federales involucrados y tortura a testigos.- Anabel Hernández(Aristegui Noticias, 15 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: denunciation of intimidation against Proceso correspondent in the state

September 2, 2014

images

On 15 August, the Proceso magazine denounced in an editorial note that a presumed representative of the Agency of the Public Military Ministry, which is contained within the Secretary for National Defense (SEDENA), attempted to hand over a summons to appear to its correspondent in Guerrero, Ezequiel Flores Contreras. The note detailed that, “in accordance with a report published by the daily newspaper La Crónica, Vespertino de Chilpancingo, at around 8:00 PM on Thursday 14 August, a man dressed in civilian clothes though with military features was making rounds in the SUSPEG district, located in the capital of Guerrero. Identifying himself as Israel Martínez, he asked in several houses about the location of the reporter’s home. The motive of the search, according to the claims he provided to neighbors, was to submit to Flores Contreras a summons to appear before the military courts, even though he is a civilian.”

Some hours previously, Ezequiel Flores had published a digital report in Proceso regarding the violence experienced in the state’s capital on Wednesday night. The correspondent confirmed that the SEDENA had not advised him of an agent visiting his home, such that he suspected that the military is after him.

In this sense, Article 19, an organization that defends journalists, published an alert for this, “which increasingly seems to resemble an attack on freedom of expression, insofar as the publication of information on organized crime cannot be reason for investigation or judicial processing.” The organization has called on SEDENA to clarify the events in question, recalling that this is not the first time that the correspondent has been harassed by the authorities, given that last year, Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero “defamed and denigrated his labor.” Article 19 stressed that, so far this year, Guerrero has seen 15 attacks on journalists and communication media.

For more information (in Spanish):

Presunto militar busca entregar citatorio a corresponsal de Proceso (Proceso, 15 de agosto de 2014)

Alertan por acto de intimidación contra el corresponsal de la revista Proceso en Guerrero (El Sur de Acapulco, 17 de agosto de 2014)

Emiten alerta por presunto acoso a un comunicador (La Jornada, 17 de agosto de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Attack by governor’s bodyguard on journalist from El Sur (2 May 2014)

National: Harassment of home of director of Article 19 shortly before publication of report “Dissent in silence: violence against the press and criminalization of protest, Mexico 2013″ (28 March 2014)

Oaxaca: the Mexican state with the highest number of attacks on women human rights defenders and journalists (June 10, 2014)

Oaxaca: One of the most violent and dangerous states for the exercise of journalism (May 16, 2014)


Guerrero: Warning of risk of famine in rural zones

December 8, 2013

INU3-440x291

Photo @Eduardo Miranda

Human-rights groups from Guerrero have warned of the risk of a “famine” in light of the scarcity of food and the abandonment of residents of the indigenous regions of the Mountain and Coast after the passing of the storms which recently devastated the state.  Leopoldo Soberanis Hernández, president of the Alliance for Human Rights United Guerrero, and Abel Barrera, director of the Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights, denounced by phone to the Proceso magazine that the Plan DN-III is not being applied in the rural zones of the state, thus aggravating the situation for residents of isolated communities.

“In the isolated communities, the situation is worse because their isolation is essentially total, due to the fact that the roads have been destroyed.  The people are leaving on foot or on animals, as happened a century ago, and they sit down where the roads used to exist to await assistance.  The damage to the infrastructure is so serious that much time will be needed to repair it,” observed Barrera Hernández.  From the Costa Grande, Leopoldo Soberanis Hernández denounced that despite the permanent presence of troops in the region, in this time of suffering “the soldiers are not entering communities but are only continuing their patrols on what remains of the highway, and that bothers us greatly.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alertan sobre riesgo de hambruna en zona rural de Guerrero (Proceso, 19 de septiembre de 2013)

Viene hambruna en La Montaña, alertan (El Universal, 27 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Victims of storms migrate to survive (12 November 2013)

Guerrero: The situation continues to be dramatic for storm victims in Guerrero (4 October 2013)

Guerrero: Deaths and victims of tropical storm Manuel (4 October 2013)