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Mexico: Prosecution of marines over enforced disappearance must signal policy change

    March 11, 2016

    The prosecution of five Mexican marines accused of the enforced disappearance of a man who was found dead weeks after his arrest in 2013 is a long awaited positive step that must herald a new official approach to tackling Mexico’s relentless wave of disappearances, said Amnesty International.

    “These arrests bring a ray of hope to the relatives of Armando del Bosque Villarreal and to the families of the tens of thousands of people whose whereabouts are still unknown across Mexico to finally obtain truth, justice and reparations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “The Mexican authorities must urgently build on this positive move and ensure adequate investigations into the more than 27,000 cases of people who have been disappeared or gone missing in recent years. Brining those responsible to justice is the only way to stop this monumental human rights crisis.”

    Armando del Bosque Villarreal, 33, was forcibly disappeared in August 2013, after marines stopped his car and arrested him in the town of Colombia in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León.

    The officials took Armando to the Navy’s provisional compound on the outskirts of town. When his father went to ask about him, the Captain in charge said he was being questioned but an hour later, he denied the man was being held there.

    On 3 October 2013, Armando’s dead body was found with gunshot wounds some two kilometres away from the Navy base.

    The investigation into Armando’s enforced disappearance was marred with excessive delays despite the dogged determination of his father and a local human rights defender.

    “The apparent involvement of a Navy Captain in Armando’s enforced disappearance is yet another illustration of the need to find and punish those responsible all the way up the chain of command,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

    According to official figures, the whereabouts of more than 27,000 people remain unknown, most of them have been forcibly disappeared since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office in 2012.

    Read more: Mexico: Gross incompetence and inertia fuel disappearances epidemic (News/Report, 14 January 2016)

    For more information please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332