Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kidnapping and Death in Cd. Juarez Appears to Implicate Armed Forces: Armed Forces Deny Official Participation

Norte of Juarez reports this morning that, after being kidnapped from his home on Thursday, apparently by elements of the armed forces, the body of Eduardo Gonzalez Ramirez, 40, was found beaten to death at 1:10 a.m. on Friday at the intersection of Damian Carmona and Rodolfo Fierro, in the colonia Jose Marti. He died of a severe injury to the pelvis. Witnesses reported two official military vehicles appeared at the victim's home between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m., military personnel entered the home without a warrant and began beating the victim, who screamed at his mother not to let them carry him away. Mr. Gonzalez, a mechanic, was then taken by the men. Maria del Refugio Ramirez, the victim's mother told Norte, "If my son did something wrong, that's what authorities are for, to judge what happened, but not to have soldiers torture them, kill them, and throw the body away."

The victim's family is expected to turn the case over to the Chihuahua State Commission on Human Rights for investigation. Diario de Juarez reports that in a separate incident Mr. Julio Escamilla Torres, an electrician, was treated for several fractured ribs and a severe injury to his leg at the General Hospital. Family members assert that persons dressed as soldiers stopped his vehicle at the corner of Zihuatanejo and Privada de Cobre and, finding him in possession of various screwdrivers, which they took to be possible weapons, began beating him with rifle butts.

Diario de Juarez, covering this story, quotes a spokesman for the armed forces who asserts that "in relation to the presumed participation of the armed forces in acts which ended the life of Eduardo Gonzalez Ramirez...and resulted in an injury to a person by the name of Julio Escamilla, the Command of the Joint Chihuahua Operation denies that military personnel, acting as such within the scope of this Operation, participated in any way in these acts."

Meanwhile, in the case of Javier Eduardo Rosales Rosales, 21, (Reported here below) a spokesperson for the State Justice Department's North Zone said an investigation was underway to determine whether military personnel were involved in the kidnapping that resulted in his death. Rosales was a radiologist at the Los Angeles Hospital. He and another man, Sergio Fernandez, were kidnapped by men in uniform on Tuesday April 7. According to Fernandez, after two days of being tortured, the two were left alone in the early morning hours on Thursday, April 9. They left the scene but Mr. Rosales died of his injuries shortly thereafter. Mr. Fernandez left the scene to look for help and made it home by himself. Rosales' body was discovered on Friday.

On Sunday night two more men were murdered in Cd. Juarez. One body was found at 9:18 p.m. on the corner of Costa Rica and Ninos Heroes. He appeared to be between 35 and 40 years old and had gunshot wounds in his back. Another man was found dead at 9:20 on Sunday on the corner of Anahuac and 2 de abril, with gunshot wounds to the head. Five spent 9mm. cartridges were found near the body.

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