Mexico: Cloaked by silence of Christmas, Police unleash spate of at least 5 enforced disappearances in Guerrero
While families were celebrating Christmas holidays at home, police in the city of Chilpancingo forcibly disappeared 5 young men, using chilling tactics that mirror those used by organized crime, said Amnesty International.
“Tragically, the enforced disappearance of these young men is the latest of a long line of horrors have befallen Guerrero state. The warning signs of corruption and terrible human rights violations have been there for all to see, and those officials that negligently ignored them are themselves complicit,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
The organization recently carried out field research in Chilpancingo that confirmed the enforced disappearance of Alán Alexis along with two teenagers under 18, on the 27 December 2017, as well as the enforced disappearance, of Jorge Vázquez Campos and Marco Catalán Cabrera on the 30 December 2017 in the local city fair.
Alán Alexis was disappeared and tortured along with two teenagers by Chilpancingo police and state investigative police during a period of 7 days. According to the information received by Amnesty International, the three young men were deprived of their liberty in a municipal police station on 27 December, taken to a safe house, then transported in a dizzying ride to Acapulco and held in cells for at least three days without food, expecting to be killed. The three young men were later found, alive, behind a local supermarket, back in Chilpancingo, on 3 January 2018, with clear signs of torture and bound up with tape all over their bodies and eyes. Information received strongly indicates that municipal and state investigative police tortured these men to obtain information from them as an illegal “confession”. According to data available to Amnesty International, there is no indication that authorities have commenced an investigation into the allegations of torture.
“It is outrageous that impunity for these grave human rights violations remains the norm. The current context of collusion between organized crime and law enforcement in the capital of Guerrero state demonstrates that another Ayotzinapa-style case could happen at any moment.”
In a different case, Jorge Vázquez Campos and Marco Catalán Cabrera were disappeared by municipal police evidently in collusion with organized crime. Their bodies were later found on 3 January in an abandoned lot on the outskirts of Chilpancingo. At the time of writing, there is only one municipal policeman detained for these acts, even though Amnesty International has evidence that indicates that the networks of collusion involved could reach much further inside police forces.
“The shocking enforced disappearance of these young men has not occurred in a vacuum and has affected families of all different backgrounds.”
Amnesty International also received reports of two other disappearances that occurred during the same period in Chilpancingo. Efrain Patrón Ramos was reported disappeared on the early morning of 29 December near the main park of the city. The family denounced the involvement of municipal police. In addition, Amnesty International has received testimonies of the case of Abel Aguilar García, who went missing on Christmas Day, 25 December. Both cases have been filed before the state attorney general and to date their whereabouts remains unknown and no information is available as to the authors of these acts.
“It is essential that the authorities ensure impartial, prompt and thorough investigations that establish the full set of circumstances surrounding the involvement of authorities in these enforced disappearances, as well as the torture in three cases and killings of two men. Meanwhile the safety of survivors, relatives and witnesses must be protected.”
For more information, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 firstname.lastname@example.org