National/Guerrero: VIDEO of Torture in Ayotzinapa Case Belies “Historic Truth”

June 27, 2019
sipaz blog Iguala


In recent days, a video showing acts of torture against Carlos Canto Salgado during his detention in the case of Ayotzinapa was made public by several media outlets.

According to information from Aristegui Noticias, “Canto was arrested by elements of the Federal Ministerial Police and the Secretariat of the Navy (SEMAR in its Spanish acronym); his case is one of 34 cases in which the UNHR found “strong elements of conviction” that indicate the commission of acts of torture, in addition to other human rights violations.”

“In response to accusations like that of the UN, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR in its Spanish) – now the Attorney General of the Republic – denied having built the so-called “historical truth” based on torture and affirmed that it only verified vexations in two cases,” different human rights centers reported. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the Attorney General’s Office to relaunch the investigation of the case, as well as to definitively dismiss the so-called “historical truth”.

The video “confirms that the investigation of the disappearance of the student teachers resorted to practices that violated human rights” and shows “that the internal investigation of the officials who have diverted and obstructed justice is pending.”

It should be recalled that the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in its Spanish acronym) in its recommendation on Ayotzinapa regarding Canto Salgado “expressly concluded that there was no evidence that he had been subjected to asphyxiation or electric shocks, despite the abundance of evidence and despite the repeated complaint of the detainee himself.” The video also proves that the CNDH “covered up this practice with a recommendation that is not reliable”, the organizations SERAPAZ, Tlachinollan, Fundar and CentroProdh indicated.

“It is time to break the chain of complicity and cover-ups around the Ayotzinapa case, and to focus the Mexican State’s efforts on truth and justice for all those involved with strict adherence to human rights,” said Jan Jarab, representative of the UNHR in Mexico.

For more information in Spanish:

ONU pide nueva investigación de caso Ayotzinapa tras video de tortura de detenido (Aristegui Noticias, 24 de junio de 2019)

Video de tortura comprueba inacción de gobierno en caso Ayotzinapa: ONU (Milenio, 24 de junio de 2019)

Video confirma tortura en caso Ayotzinapa y acredita encubrimiento de CNDH: OSC (23 de junio de 2019)

Ayotzinapa: video demuestra uso impune de la tortura en la investigación (Comunicado de Prensa, 23 de junio de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Attorney General and SEDENA Denounced for Lack of Interest in Solving Ayotzinapa Case (May 17, 2019)

Guerrero/National: More Information Published on Role of Army in Ayotzinapa Case (March 15, 2019)

Guerrero/National: Commission for Truth and Access to Justice in Ayotzinapa Case Set Up. Federal Judge Orders Investigation into Possible Responsibility of Attorney General Employees for Irregularities (January 22nd, 2019)

Guerrero/National: Decree Establishes Truth Commission for Ayotzinapa Case (December 19th, 2018)

Guerrero/National/International: CNDH and IACHR Ayotzinapa Reports (December 14th, 2018)

Guerrero/National: Ayotzinapa, Four Years On… (October 1st, 2018)

Guerrero/National: 41 years after the forcible disappearance of Rosendo Radilla, demand for justice continues

September 11, 2015

Tita Radilla (@SIPAZ)

41 years after the forcible disappearance of Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, his family continues steadfastly to seek out his whereabouts. The last time Rosendo was seen alive was in the military barracks of Atoyac de Álvarez, Guerrero, within the context of the “Dirty War.” The fate of Radilla, who was a social activist, composer, and mayor of Atoyac, continue to be unknown, all this years later.

On 26 August an event was held in front of the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) in Mexico City to emphasize the demand for justice in the case. At this event were present relatives of the 43 students who were forcibly disappeared 11 months ago in Iguala, a member of the UN Commission against Forcible Disappearances, as well as members of social organizations and collectives that struggle for the appearance with life of the disappeared. There were songs regarding the disappearances and at the end, white balloons were launched with the names of the disappeared.

“Since the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Radilla, his whereabouts have been unknown. The arrest and subsequent disappearance of Mr. Radilla was denounced by his family before the government. Due to the lack of response and due diligence on the part of the Mexican State, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) released in 2009 its first sentence against the Mexican State due to grave human-rights violations, ordering a series of measures of compensation,” as the communique released by members of the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights asserts.

It bears stressing that the Radilla case has been a paradigmatic one, as it is the first sentence in which the IACHR has condemned the Mexican State. Furthermore, it has provoked structural changes such as the reform of the code of military justice. At the present time, the petitioners continue to await the observance of this sentence.

For more information (in Spanish):

Verdad, justicia, y reparación para Rosendo Radilla y todas las víctimas de desaparición forzada en México (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, 26 de agosto de 2015)

La desaparición es aún una práctica de Estado, lamentan a 41 años del caso Rosendo Radilla (El Sur, 26 de agosto de 2015)

Caso Rosendo Radilla Pacheco (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos)

A 41 años de la desaparición forzada de Rosendo Radilla Pacheco: Ni verdad ni justicia (Síntesis de Guerrero, 20 de agosto de 2015)

Ven retroceso en desapariciones (La Razón, 26 de agosto de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: 40 years since the forcible disappearance of Rosendo Radilla Pacheco (2 September 2014)

Guerrero: Mexican State is denounced for failing to observe its obligations in the Rosendo Radilla Pacheco case (2 June 2014)

Guerrero: Homage to Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, disappeared by the Army (15 March 2014)

Guerrero: Soldiers harass Tita Radilla in Atoyac (7 December 2013)

Guerrero/National: SCJN affirms observance of IACHR sentences in Radilla and Cantú cases (28 September 2012)

Guerrero: Investigation “based in scientific proof” requested in the Ayotzinapa case

March 1, 2015


Photo @SIPAZ

On 13 February, the UN Committee against Forced Disappearance (CED) declared that “generalized disappearances” are practiced “throughout” Mexico, and that the Ayotzinapa case “illustrates the serious challenges that the State confronts in terms of the prevention, investigation, and sanctioning of forcible disappearances and the search for the disappeared.”  It reminded the State of its obligation to “effectively investigate all State agents or organs that could have been involved, as well as to exhaust all lines of investigation” in response to forcible disappearances, with this being a recommendation that could clearly be applied to the Ayotzinapa case.

The inconsistencies that have been indicated by the Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology (EAAF) with regards to the investigation of the Federal Attorney General (PGR) of the presumed murder of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa strengthen the demand to now open new lines of investigation and set the official story to the side, as relatives of the disappeared youth observed in a press-conference held on 9 February.  The spokesperson of the parents, Felipe de la Cruz, claimed that “the historical truth of this federal government in this case […] is in tatters.  Today certainly we can truly see clearly that we were not mistaken from the beginning, when we said we did not trust the government’s version and that of the PGR.”

In a communique released on 9 February, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, explained in detail about the failed investigation into the Ayotzinapa case.  It concludes by saying that “[Now the parents] await the international support of the UN and the Inter-American Commission, as well as the prestigious work being carried out by the Argentine team.  They request that the PGR listen to their demands and observe the rights of the victims by carrying out an investigation that takes into account all possible lines and is based in scientific evidence.”  On 12 February, representatives of the families of the 43 disappeared students expressed their welcome to the newly arrived Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Groups (GIEI) to Mexico, who will begin the work of verifying the investigation of the forcible disappearance of the youth on 1 March.

For more information (in Spanish):

‘‘La verdad histórica sobre Ayotzinapa se cae a pedazos’’, expresan padres de familia (La Jornada, 10 de febrero de 2015)

Un gobierno que sepulta la verdad (CDHM Tlachinollan, 9 de febrero de 2015)

ONU acusa “desapariciones generalizadas” en México (SIDIDH, 13 de febrero de 2015)

Guerrero/National/International: UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) to evaluate the case of Mexico

February 10, 2015


Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 2 and 3 February, the UN Committee against Forcible Disappearance (CED) evaluated the question of Mexico’s observance of its obligations, as stipulated in the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Forcible Disappearance, for the first time.  Relatives of two of the 43 disappeared students from the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa, accompanied by a dozen Mexican human-rights organizations, arrived to Geneva to represent their peers.  They gave presentations at the United Nations and shared with the international community their profound indignation over the events of late September that took place in Guerrero state.  Bernabé Abraham Gaspar, father of Adán Abraham de la Cruz, one of the victims, emphasized that “for us, our sons are not dead.  They have been disappeared.  It is for that reason that we have come to the United Nations, so that you can help us find them.”

The CED has deeply questioned the Mexican State in relation to the actions and policies supposedly designed to prevent, investigate, and sanction forcible disappearances, as well as to search out the missing and protect their families.  In this sense, the Committee interrogated the State regarding the reasons for the closure of the FEMOSPP, an institution that had been charged with investigating the grave human-rights violations that took place during the “Dirty War” of the 1970’s, as well as the lengthy delay of the federal government in attending to the case of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa.  The CED indicated that the Ayotzinapa case represents a serious challenge for the Mexican State, but that it also demonstrates a broader structural problem that has developed due to impunity. Stephanie Erin Brewer, coordinator of International Affairs at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights, has indicated that the question of impunity has been present at all moments, given that the members of the Committee have indicated that there are exceedingly few cases in which sentences have been handed down.  She inquired into the reasons behind the closure of the Special Prosecutorial Office for Past Crimes and other events, such as the faulty classification of this type of crime.  The conclusions and recommendations for Mexico will be made public on 13 February.

For more information (in Spanish):

México ante el Comité contra la Desaparición Forzada: la obligación de hacer de la crisis actual un punto de inflexión en la política del Estado(Centro ProDH, 3 de febrero de 2015)

“Que no nos mientan más…que se haga justicia” (Alba TV, 2 de febrero de 2015)

INFORME | La Desaparición Forzada de los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa frente al CED (Tlachinollan, 2 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Nationa: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico

May 16, 2014


Upon completing his visit of 12 days to the country, Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishments, affirmed that torture is a “generalized phenomenon” in Mexico.  He recognized that the statistics on the prevalence of torture are on the decline, but he doubted that this in fact means that torture as practiced has similarly declined.  He located impunity and the regular use of torture as a “means of criminal investigation” as great problems in this sense.

In a press conference held on 2 May, Méndez presented the preliminary conclusions of his visit, stressing the numerous denunciations he received.  He also recognized progress on the question, for example on the use of military tribunals and a handful of the sentences handed down by the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN).  He expressed his worry for the continued militarization of various regions of the country, in addition to the persistent participation of military commanders in civilian security forces.

As part of his preliminary recommendations, Méndez proposed a decrease in the resort to the use of “community control,” comprehensive reparations by those affected by torture, expeditious investigations into presumed human-rights violations, the standardization of torture at the national level with international standards, and the regulation of the use of legitimate public force.

For more information (in Spanish):

La tortura está “generalizada” en México: ONU (entrevista CNN México, 2 de mayo de 2014)

Generalizada en México, la tortura como medio de investigación: relator de la ONU (La Jornada, 3 de mayo de 2014)

Para erradicar la tortura hay que suprimir la idea de que es normal: relator de la ONU (La Jornada, 4 de mayo de 2014)

Comunicado de organizaciones chiapanecas por visita del Relator Especial sobre la Tortura de la ONU (2 de mayo de 2014)

Presentarán a relator de la ONU 18 casos de tortura en Chiapas(Proceso, 28 de abril de 2014)

Informe sobre Tortura en Guerrero (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan)

Tortura, “práctica terriblemente cotidiana en México”, acusan ONG ante relator de la ONU (Proceso, 22 de abril de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Special rapporteur on torture begins visit to Mexico (29 April 2014)

National: International organizations conclude observation mission on torture in Mexico (10 June 2013)

Mexico: UN Committee against Torture expresses grave concern for the practice of torture in Mexico (9 November 2012)

National: Amnesty International presents report regarding use of torture in Mexico (19 October 2012)

National: International organizations conclude observation mission on torture in Mexico

June 10, 2013

logoOn 31 May, the Global Organization against Torture (OMCT) and Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT) concluded an observation mission toward the end of investigating the recommendations released by the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) directed to Mexico in December 2012.  Upon concluding their mission, the organizations denounced that the Mexican government had not observed the 72 recommendations released by the CAT.  Andrea Mera, director of OMCT, and Anne Boucher (ACAT) carried out an observation-mission to the states of Chihuahua and Guerrero as well as Mexico City, where they met with state and federal authorities, civil organizations, and victims of torture, from 26 to 31 May.

In a press conference, Meraz recalled that one of the principal concerns expressed by the CAT has to do with the high number of disappearances in Mexico, and that while it may be premature to judge the special office created by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) with only 12 Public Ministry officials, “there are very few elements and resources assigned to such a large problem.”  Boucher added that during their visit, they found it highly disconcerting that one of the principal recommendations made by the CAT has not been followed, particularly in the question of the elimination of community control (arraigo).

For more information (in Spanish):
México debe aumentar voluntad política y acciones concretas para frenar la tortura (OMCT y ACAT, 31 de mayo de 2013)

México necesita voluntad política para frenar la tortura (Centro ProDH, 3 de junio de 2013)

Incumple México con recomendaciones del Comité contra la Tortura (Proceso, 3 de junio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: UN Committee against Torture expresses grave concern for the practice of torture in Mexico (9 November 2012)

National: Amnesty International presents report regarding use of torture in Mexico (19 October 2012)

National: International judges report on conclusions of the observation of state of justice in Mexico (12 October 2012)

Chiapas: Presentation of report on torture in Chiapas “From Cruelty to Cynicism” (2 July 2012)

The OMCT condemns torture in Chiapas (18 August 2011)

Chiapas: Presentation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

September 15, 2010

On 13 September the Chiapas section of Amnesty International Mexico and the Jesuit Mission of Bachajón presented in San Cristóbal de Las Casas the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Spanish and Tseltal.  It was then exactly three years after the date on which the UN General Assembly approved the declaration that establishes the right to self-determination, to indigenous control of lands and natural resources, and to the cultural traditions of indigenous communities.

Manuel de la Cruz, member of the Center for Indigenous Rights A.C. (Cediac) affirmed that “The UN declaration on our rights has proven to be a valuable tool for indigenous peoples, above all now that it has been translated into our language.  This way we can analyze and discuss it in courses and workshops held in communities.” He mentioned as an example that, thanks to the knowledge different communities have regarding their rights, they have organized themselves, succeeding in “momentarily” suspending the construction of the San Cristóbal-Palenque highway.  He added that “[t]his path would have affected the lands and natural resources of many ejidos, and it would not have brought us any benefits; indeed, it would only be for the movement of vehicles, as occurs on many such highways.”

For more information (in Spanish):

UN declaration on indigenous rights is presented in Tzeltal (La Jornada, 14 September 2010)

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (English version)

UN approves Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (La Jornada, 14 September 2007)

Chiapas: OCEZ-Casa del Pueblo suspends sit-in and exits occupied buildings after 21 days of conflict

June 8, 2010

The Campesino Organization Emiliano Zapata (OCEZ)-Casa del Pueblo lifted the sit-in it had maintained in front of UN offices in San Cristóbal de Las Casas and returned the mayor’s offices and other buildings, both public and private, that it had “taken” in Venustiano Carranza following 21 days of pressing for the release of four of its members.

The agreement was had on 1 June, as a result of the meeting held the previous day in Tuxtla Gutiérrez with governor Juan Sabines, who promised to respond to OCEZ-Casa del Pueblo’s petition within a month.  In this meeting participated the bishop of the Diocesis of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Felipe Arizmendi, and representatives of the UN.

According to a communiqué released by OCEZ-Casa del Pueblo, this agreement was made “on the condition that within a month our ‘compañeros’ will be released.  But if this not come to pass, we will know how to present an organized response to this problem.  We hold the government responsible for this, if it does not attend in time to the most-felt demands of our people.”

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: OCEZ-Casa del Pueblo protests for release of prisoners (29 May)

Chiapas: OCEZ-Casa del Pueblo protests for the release of prisoners

May 29, 2010

Starting on 11 May, the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization (OCEZ)-Casa del Pueblo (House of the People) engaged in a strong protest-movement in the city of Venustiano Carranza that has resulted in the closing of governmental offices (from the federal, state, and municipal levels) as well as of banks.  On the other hand, according to OCEZ-House of the People. some educational institutions have also been closed for a week, this with the support of teachers.  On 26 May, an OCEZ commission arrived in San Cristóbal de las Casas to initiate a hunger-strike in front of the UN offices, which were being protected by riot police.  Officials from the Regional Sub-Secretary of Governance por the Highlands region, together with Oscar Torrens, a UN representative, told the campesinos that the following Monday the governor would receive them in the Palace of Government.  In any case, the protestors said they would maintain the sit-in until they received a written response to their demands.

The protestors demand the release of four prisoners imprisoned in Amate prison who have been held for more than 9 years for the murder of 8 members of the organization San Bartolomé de los Llanos.  The prisoners are Ángel Hidalgo Espinosa, sentenced to 37 years, and Mario Coutiño Morales, Enrique Coutiño Morales and Alberto Coutiño Morales, all of whom have been sentenced to 60 years.  The protests aim to condemn the lack of attention given to date by the state government and demand direct dialogue with the governor.  In a press release, they claimed that “we have for nine years been struggling legally, but to date responsibility has not been achieved; in any case, the authorities of the administration of justice refuse to release our comrades, even though they know that the juridical process they faced was plagued by irregularities and the fabrication and buying of crimes, among others things.”
For more information (in Spanish):

OCEZ requests the release of 4 indigenous prisoners (La Jornada, 27 May)

Campesinos protest against the UN (Cuarto Poder, 27 May)

Oaxaca: new information-update on San Juan Copala

May 29, 2010

Since the 27 April attack on a civil observation mission en route to the municipality of San Juan Copalá in the Triqui region of Oaxaca by presumed members of the group Union of Social Welfare for the Triqui Region (UBISORT), several distinct voices have denounced the events. On 12 May, a number of special rapporteurs from the UN claimed that “we are profoundly concerned about the deterioration of the situation of human-rights defenders in Mexico.” The European condemned the 27 April attack and demanded that “federal, state, and local authorities do all that is possible to identify, arrest, and judge those responsible for these murders.”

Amidst the present humanitarian crisis suffered in San Juan Copalá, representatives of the autonomous community announced on 13 May that another humanitarian-aid caravan would be organized, this one constituted by at least 300 participants. Initially slated to take place in late May, it was for some reason delayed until June 8. In homage to the two activists who lost their lives in the attack on the caravan in April, the new convoy will be named “Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola.” Jordge Albino Ortiz, a representative and member of the Movement for Unification and Triqui Struggle-Independent (MULT-I), noted that the “humanitarian conditions” lived in San Juan Copalá are at the moment “extreme,” given that residents of the community continue to be encircled by members of UBISORT.

Indeed, authorities of the community recently requested the intervention of the International Red Cross and its Mexican counterpart, so that they detail the ongoing humanitarian crisis in San Juan Copalá. The Diocese Commission on Justice and Peace from the Oaxacan archidiocesis and the Carrasco Briseño Regional Center on Human Rights, or Barca, demanded the “immediate” presence of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) in San Juan Copalá, given the “grave human-rights violations” experienced in the municipality.

An alarming development that occurred recently was the kidnapping and subsequent release of 11 residents of San Juan Copalá on 14 May, presumably by members of UBISORT. The detained were 6 women, 3 girls, 2 boys, and an infant, all of whom had been participating in a larger group from the autonomous municipality that were taken while returning to their community from the city of Santiago Juxtlahuaca. They were ambushed by armed men in La Sabana; according to their testimony, the men fired in the air, threatened them with death, and stole their money and goods.

Serious doubts exist regarding the security situation of those who would participate in the new caravan. Rufino Juárez Hernández, leader of UBISORT, announced that “not even the minimal [security] conditions” exist for a new convoy and that hence “lamentable events could occur.” He added that the presence of observers “with blue eyes and long hair” would not resolve the situation in the region, and that “there is no security for people to travel [here].” Evencio Nicolás Martinez Ramirez, secretary of governance in Oaxaca, warned on 13 May that “whoever attempts to come near the Triqui region puts herself at risk.”

For more information (in Spanish):

OHCHR Press Release on situation in Mexico (12 May)

Triquis announce new humanitarian caravan to Copala (La Jornada, 17 May)

Another humanitarian convoy will attempt to cross the paramilitary encirclemente of Copala (La Jornada, 18 May)

Red Cross is requested in San Juan Copala (El Universal, 18 May)

CNDH asked to come to San Juan Copala (El Universal, 17 May)

UBISORT detains 11 women and children from San Juan Copala in the Triqui sierra, it is said (La Jornada, 16 May)

UBISORT released women and children (La Jornada, 17 May)

Those who go to Triqui region put themselves at risk (La Jornada, 14 May)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Information-update on observation-caravan attack (3 May)