Mexico: Enrique Peña Nieto’s Prosecutor’s Office is accused of spying on three women investigating a massacre | Illegal espionage against a director of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, a human rights defender and a journalist

by time news

Rather than clarify a massacre that occurred in San Fernando, a municipality in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas where the remains of 196 people were found in 2011, The defunct Attorney General’s Office (PGR) harassed and persecuted those who seek to clarify the facts, denounced a group of organizations to which the spied women belong. According to the complaint, during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto, the PGR investigated and spied on Mercedes Doretti, who coordinates the work in Mexico of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF); Ana Lorena Delgadillo, Director of the Foundation for Justice and the Democratic State of Law (FJEDD); and Marcela Turati, journalist and co-founder of Quinto Element Lab. In the framework of an investigation for “organized crime and kidnapping”, the now dissolved federal government agency he would have had access to the telephones with which they contacted and to the geographical location of the three women. This would indicate copies of the file that the FJEDD obtained this year after a lengthy judgment of the Supreme Court and that were exhibited at a press conference that took place in the Mexican capital.

“It is an investigation on nothing, because there is no crime that is cited in that volume. It is clearly a violation of press freedom, the right to legal representation and an independent investigation”, said Doretti in the face-to-face and virtual press conference, which was attended by organizations such as the Miguel Agustín Pro Human Rights Center (Prodh), the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights and International Amnesty.

“They replaced the debate with criminalization”

At the command of the FJEDD, Ana Lorena Delgadillo tried to shed light on the San Fernando massacre over the last decade. It was not until May of this year that the foundation team obtained volume 221 of a file from which they were receiving documentation at the drop of a hat. There they encountered something unexpected: the PGR was using tools designed to combat organized crime to violate privacy and criminalize those who, from different areas, they were looking for justice.

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The Mexican authorities had secretly launched an investigation against organized crime that gave prosecutors special powers to monitor the three women and even relatives of the victims. “They asked for the call sheets, the messages and the geolocation points between us. This was sent to the federal police for them to examine and cross-check the information.”, remarked Delgadillo and added surprised: “We are in the same volume in which they are investigating organized crime.”

These types of maneuvers are possible in Mexico thanks to the Organized Crime Law, which should be used only for the investigation of the most serious crimes. Without having judicial authorization, the PGR of Peña Nieto requested “extraurgent” information from the telephone companies of all the calls and messages exchanged by the three women between February 2015 and April 2016. “Ten years have passed since the case of the San Fernando graves and so far not a single person responsible has been consigned. However, to investigate us they got telephone crossings in 24 hours“, he expressed Delgadillo about.

No less amazed is she Mercedes Doretti. “We do not know exactly why they opened this investigation to us, but we do know what we were doing as EAAF in 2015 in Mexico, “said Doretti, recalling that that year almost 50 identifications were produced thanks to the information they found on the ground and that had not been used so far. They found, what’s more, a high number of irregularities.

“It is terribly disappointing that the mechanisms established by law for the resolution of technical-forensic dissent and the investigation of irregularities have been replaced by the criminalization of forensics. Forensics are technical, if we have a dissent we hold a meeting. Here they substituted the debate for criminalization“, warned the director for Central and North America of the EAAF before demand “that never again a coroner be criminalized for doing his job”.

“We unearthed evidence that is corpus delicti”

Far from the slowness of the Mexican authorities to investigate the disappearances and massacres that shake the country daily, the journalist Marcela Turati He has been dedicating himself to these issues for a long time. During one of his trips to the state of Tamaulipas in 2015, Turati wrote an article for Proceso magazine entitled “The tombs of San Fernando: errors of the Attorney General’s Office.” There he denounced that the authorities had not notified a mother about the discovery of the body of her missing 22-year-old son, identified four years earlier thanks to an identity document that was found in one of his pockets.

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It was that same mother who filed a complaint alleging that she did not give her consent to publicize the case, which enabled the PGR to monitor the three women who denounced this practice this Wednesday. Turati assures that he was given permission to publish and that, in any case, it is a new example of the pressure victims and their families are often subjected to.

The Mexican journalist assured that based on her investigation of the San Fernando massacre she confirmed, “as always happens,” that behind these cases “There is not only organized crime but there is also organized crime in certain areas of the government”. He also warned with some desolation: “In this country it seems that what matters for the institutions is to remove the bodies from the public thoroughfare, so that they are not seen. But by unearthing them as Mimi does (by Mercedes Doretti, from the EAAF), or as the journalists themselves do with our investigations, we unearth evidence that is corpus delicti “.

Both Turati and Doretti will present an appeal to denounce what happened, demand that the irregular investigation cease and the evidence obtained in the framework of it be destroyed. For his part, Delgadillo decided to initiate a criminal complaint against the officials involved. The different judicial strategies were agreed upon and are complementary, reported from the EAAF.

The details of a macabre case

Just one year after another massacre in which 72 migrants had lost their lives in the same place, In April 2011, 43 human remains were discovered in a clandestine grave in San Fernando. From that first discovery, a search began throughout the municipality. In total they were found, so far, 196 remains of people in 48 graves. The bodies show signs of arbitrary execution and also of torture. Most of the victims were Central American migrants: San Fernando is a mandatory pass on the Gulf route to the United States.

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There is little public information about the events that occurred ten years ago. Nevertheless, it is known that municipal police from San Fernando participated. NSAEBB / NSAEBB499 / “> The organization National Security Archive (NSA), through the US Freedom of Information Act, declassified files that document the arrest of nine members of the criminal group Los Zetas and 17 members of the San Fernando police forces for participating in the murders. Nevertheless, to date not a single sentence is known.


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