National Human Rights Commission blasts Mexican army

Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) July 11 issued eight recommendations to the Secretary of National Defense (SEDENA) concerning grave violations of basic guarantees—including homicide and torture—in anti-crime operations in the states of Sinaloa, Sonora, Michoacán and Tamaulipas.

The first case concerned JosĂ© Fausto MunguĂ­a, who was threatened at gunpoint, tortured and arbitrarily detained June 7, 2007 en Sonoyta, Sonora, by troops from the 40th Military Zone. The second occurred June 13, 2007 in Morelia, Michoacán, when troops from the 21st Military Zone invaded the apartment of and tortured Ă“scar Cornejo Tello—apparently in the mistaken belief that he was a suspect named Chino Guenses. The third case took place Aug. 3, 2007 in Naco, Sonora, where army troops “disappeared” Fausto Murillo, who was among three men legally arrested. His body was found the next day at the pueblo of La Morita, with signs of “brutal beating.”

The fourth case concerned Antonio Paniagua in Tanguato, Michoacán, whose home was ransacked by 37th Batallón troops, acting without warrant, on Oct. 7, 2007. Arbitrarily detained, he was tortured with electric shock, as soldiers accused him of possessing arms. In a fifth case, on Aug. 21, 2007 in Uruapan, Michoacán, two men were detained and similarly tortured, likewise accused of arms and marijuana possession.

The sixth case concerns 12th Infantry Battalion troops who arbitrarily shot up a public transport truck at a roadblock in Huetamo, Michoacán, Jan. 11, 2008, killing two passengers, aged 17 and 19. In the seventh case, on Feb. 16, 2008, soldiers in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, similarly opened fire on a car, killing one passenger. The final case occurred March 26, 2008 in Badiraguato, Sinaloa, where army troops fired on a Hummer, killing four.

CNDH president JosĂ© Luis Soberanes said SEDENA must punish “those who violate fundamental rights with the rigor of the law, which must serve to fortify the institution and its moral authority.” (La Jornada, July 12; La Jornada, El Universál, July 11)

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