Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rosales Case Closer to Resolution: Joint Operation Chihuahua

On Saturday April 11 and then April 14 (see below) I reported the death of Javier Eduardo Rosales Rosales, 21, covered in stories in Norte.

According to friends he was kidnapped by persons dressed in military clothing. He was found with contusions on his left and right cheeks, nose, both feet, and a scrape on the right side of his abdomen, suggesting he was tortured.

This morning Diario reports the deputy prosecutor of the state of Chihuahua, Alejandro Pariente Núñez, has turned the case over to the General Prosecutor for Military Justice (a federal entity of the Armed Forces), inasmuch as the state has found sufficient evidence to suggest that soldiers were responsible for this homicide, as well as the beating of a U.S. citizen, Sergio Fernandez, who was kidnapped, detained, tortured, and abandoned on a bare hilltop with Rosales.

Witnesses testified that a group of soldiers, driving a vehicle marked 2321370 which was assigned to a group of Red Berets, under the command of Captain Molina, kidnapped the men on the morning of Tuesday, April 7. After two days of torture the men were left abandoned on a hilltop named "El Aguila." Sergio Fernandez walked home on his own and revealed to his mother that his friend Javier died while trying to walk with him.

The Rosales family, unable to find the body after a search, on Thursday April 9 asked for help from the state prosecutor's office and the state office of the federal prosecutor (PGR). They were unable to file a complaint about the disappearance of the men or about the physical abuse. The family renewed the search on Friday morning and found it at about noon. At about 1:40 the Rosales home was surrounded by about 50 municipal, state, federal, and military officers. The state forensic service later revealed they found contusions on his left cheekbone, right cheek, and nose. In addition he had injuries to his right abdomen and both feet. "He was severely beaten," the forensic report concluded. A day later the ministry of defense agreed to collaborate in the investigation.

Rosales' mother, asked by Diario about the investigation, said, "They (the soldiers) are the law in Juárez and I never thought this would be investigated. It would just be another murder. Now I have a little more confidence in the investigators because I can see they did their job."

Many citizens of Juárez will be following this story to see what military justice will do.

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