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150 People Reported Disappeared in Piedras Negras, Mexico

teleSUR | February 7, 2015

Over 150 people have been reported disappeared in the small city of Piedras Negras in the northern border Mexican state of Coahuila in the last 18 months, of which at least 60 have been attributed to elite police forces, according to a lawyer overseeing the cases.

Families of victims and their lawyers accused state government of creating special forces that have carried out arbitrary detentions, tortures and enforced disappearances across Coahuila during the last six years.

The creation of elite police forces, which in the past have been sent to the U.S. for special training by the FBI, is not new in Mexico. These types of forces have been accused of acting as death squads for the government and have sometimes carried out assassinations ordered by organized crime gangs.

“Special units of the army and navy, assassins trained by armed forces deserters and civilians trained by foreign security forces operate in Mexico as death squad,” Proceso published in June of 2013. The Mexican magazine based this assertion on a book published by 0federal lawmaker Ricardo Monreal Avila, which was edited by the congress’ lower house.

Influential newspaper Excelsior in November of last year wrote that, “The special forces created in the states (of Mexico) are under scrutiny due to human rights issues.”

The daily based in Mexico City added that, “these elite police groups have been accused of carrying out enforced disappearances, kidnappings, extortion and torture.”

Excelsior said that “it should be noted that in spite of the negative reputation of these forces in various states, which sometimes receive special training by U.S., Colombian or Israeli elite groups, more states and Mexico City are in the process of integrating elite groups to (allegedly) fight organized crime.”

The newspaper went on to say that the United Nations has questioned the work of special intelligence units in Baja California and Tamaulipas, due to the high number of crimes they have committed against innocent people.

On Friday, the La Jornada newspaper reported that attorney Denise Garcia told reporters that the non-governmental organization United Families has documented 150 cases of disappearances in the last 18 months in Piedras Negras alone.

“In at least 60 of those cases there is evidence that the Special Arms and Tactics Group (GATE) participated in them, as well as other similar types police units that were created by the former Governor Humberto Moreira and which still exist today under the governorship of his brother Ruben,” she said.

Garcia said the 51 people that were disappeared by GATE were later found alive, but all of them, she added, were tortured to confess crimes they did not commit, including drug trafficking, and today they remain jailed under false charges.

These groups have no accountability, Garcia explained, and they don’t report their operations nor their arrests, which is a clear violation of human rights.

“GATE and other special police units work under the recognition and support of the government, despite that many of them are [not] even legally constituted,” she said.

García said they act as illegal death squads, they travel in unmarked vehicles with no license plates, they are masked and commit many other irregularities.

The worst thing, she added, is that “we have denounced these issues to the federal government and the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), which respond with indifference.”

See also:

Disappearances, a Persistent Problem in Mexico

Justice for Ayotzinapa

February 8, 2015 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , , ,

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