Mexico: ex-president arrested on genocide charges

From the Mexican news agency APRO, June 30, via Chiapas95 (our translation):

In an unexpected event in the lead-up to the elections this Sunday, the arrest of ex-president Luis Echeverria Alvarez was announced, for the crime of genocide.

His lawyer, Juan Velasquez, said that Echeverria would not be interned in a prison, claiming that the magistrate Jose Angel Mattar Oliva, head of the Second Unitary Tribunal on Penal Matters, had ordered him to submit to house arrest.

Mattar Oliva determined that there is sufficient evidence to consider Echeverria as the probable author of the crime of genocide at the massacre of students on October 2, 1968.

This is the first time that the arrest of an ex-president of the Republic has been ordered for any crime.

Velazquez…said that the Federal Penal Code permits house arrest for people over 70 years old.

The lawyer also said an arrest order was denied for the crime of illegal privation of liberty in the case of student leader Hector Jaramillo… A federal judge had denied an arrest order last year, considering that the crime was related to a massacre that happened 30 years ago.

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) also established last year–reviewing the issue of the massacre of June 10, 1971–that in the case of Echeverria, the time limit [on prosecution] should begin from when his presidency ended, on Dec. 1, 1976…

In the opinion of Velazquez, the case should decided easily for his client. He noted that he was already absolved of similar crimes when he faced charges in the Juevez de Corpus massacre [June 1971]…and that the crime of genocide does not appear in the Federal Penal Code.

Note: the 1968 massacre at Tlatelolco plaza took place when Echeverria was Government Secretary under the late President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz.

See our last posts on Mexico, and the dirty war.