The attack carried out with grenades 11 years ago against the people who celebrated the Scream of Independence in the plinth of Morelia, Michoacán, made unpublished in our country and officially qualified as terrorism with a balance of 8 dead and more than 130 injured , has gone unpunished so far.
This was after the final judgment issued by a Federal Collegiate Court whose judges ultimately ruled the acquittal of four subjects to which the then Attorney General’s Office (PGR) accused of belonging to Los Zetas, and of being the responsible for the attack, but it was eventually discovered that they were illegally detained and tortured to plead guilty.
As a result the case is not clarified, but that’s not all. With no sentencing, the truth of the facts is not known, and there are also no perpetrators to repair the damage that more than eight families claim among those who include, for example, a woman who lost one of her legs, or minors who still suffer after the explosion on.
The situation for them has worsened because while the Victims Act provides that they would be entitled to subsidiary economic support, the Executive Commission on Victim Care (CEAV) has so far not accepted them on the victims’ register until finiquiten a procedure, which includes a judge ordering his legal recognition, a situation that has also been denied in the judgments.
«We have been forgotten by the commissions of victims, we are currently in a situation of vulnerability and to date we have not overcome the consequences (…) it is clear that there were flaws in the inquiry and that the PGR violated the human rights of the likely perpetrators, but this also leads to today’s violation of our right to truth and justice» the victims stated in the complaint that already filed with the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH).
Reyna Velasco, the lawyer who legally represents eight of the victims, considered this to be a case that exemplifies both the inability of research at all levels in Mexico, as well as the inoperability of ceav to provide any support to obvious victims of such a paradigmatic fact of violence, as was this attack.
Court: the last nail to the coffin
On 26 September 2008, some 14 days after the fragmentation grenade attack, the PGR arrested three subjects (whose names are not published since they are legally innocent) who accused a judge of being the material perpetrators of the attack. He would later extend the charge against someone else. The crimes he charged them ranged from murder to terrorism.
However, the case began to fall apart on 27 May 2015 when the judge in charge of the proceedings determined to acquit and order the immediate release of the detainees, considering that the process could not continue due to the alleged torture with which the arrests were obtained of the confessions of those involved.
Six months later, in November of the same year, the PGR (now the Attorney General’s Office) was able to temporarily revive the case after a unitary court overturned the acquittion sentence and ordered the reprosere of those involved, for the so-called » Istanbul Protocol», which serves to confirm traces of torture.
However those involved – already released – promoted and won an amparo trial that again slowed the case. The Office tried to appeal that determination and the file reached the First Collegiate Court this year whose judges ruled last June to uphold the protection and acquittal of those involved.
Here you can check the sentence
In that resolution, of which Political Animal it has a copy, the magistrates warn of the irregular circumstances in which the cases involved were arrested, who were accused of belonging to the criminal group of Los Zetas.
For example, that these were not caught with flagrance or with an arrest warrant, but following an alleged anonymous call indicating the site where the suspects were tied up.
The detainees later noted during the trial that they were forced to sign prefabricated statements in which they agreed to be the perpetrators of the attacks. This is after being physically and psychologically tortured with the threat of harm to families.
«It can validly be concluded that in the species one is facing an illegal detention, which is a violation of the human right to freedom that protects the Constitution (…) this leads, as a result, to the ineffectiveness of the evidence obtained in connection with these irregularities, and therefore cannot be used in criminal proceedings,» the judicial decision states.
In that context, the Court concluded that the protection previously granted to the persons arrested by the PGR was entirely legal and, consequently, the absolute judgment issued since 2015 in favour of the four men who were prosecuted is ultimately maintained .
All of the above, as the victims point out through their lawyer, without really clarifying whether these people or others were responsible, because the criminal process ended up falling for the failures and acts of torture that the PGR itself incurred.
Bureaucracy and revictimization
The Federal Court’s determination was a final blow to the PGR investigation but also a new setback for the victims, who had expressly requested that they be recognized for that quality in order to proceed with the reparation of the corresponding damage. The magistrates refused to grant them such a request.
«The legal reason (victims) does not apply because, in accordance with Article 66 of the General Law on Victims, for the payment of compensation in a subsidiary form, it is necessary that there be a conviction executed in the that compensation has been ordered for the victim of the crime,» the decision states.
Reyna Velasco, the victims’ lawyer, said it is clear that the PGR’s poor work in the investigation has meant revictimization for all the people who were affected by the attack 11 years ago, to the point where from the outset there were deficiencies of the Public Prosecution Service in the complete register of victims.
But it also pointed out to the Executive Committee on Victim Care (CEAV) to hinder the granting of any kind of support with red tape, such as access to victims’ resources.
This is on the grounds that they have to register first in the National Register of Victims, but to do so they need to file a court order that indicates this.
«We have already handed the entire file to the CEAV where it is clear how the victims have been affected by the poor investigation of the PGR, but not because they are not victims and we ask you to do an analysis of the sentence and other documents to determine that you are they are victims because they can. That’s four months and we don’t have an answer,» Velasco says.
The lawyer pointed out that given the urgency and necessity of the victims, CEAV was asked in the meantime to authorize access to an emergency fund. But in his office of reply, of which Political Animal has a copy, the Commission refuses to give them access to a fund on the grounds that they have to keep waiting for their registration to be determined.
Here you can check the Commission document
It was in this context that the victims decided to promote a complaint to the CNDH, against various authorities, including the PGR (now the Attorney General’s Office) and the CEAV, on the grounds that a bad investigation and attention has put them in a clear situation of rape their fundamental rights.
«Victims are in total abandonment. They have only received insufficient state government support and it seems that what happened 11 years ago in Morelia is a chapter of our reality that everyone wants to forget. That’s what these victims are for, forgotten. It is outrageous to know that at 11 years old they have no formal support, let alone justice because the defendants are already acquitted. Who is responsible for the victims?» his legal representative told his legal representative in an interview.
The situation of the victims
Below are the names and current situation of the direct and indirect victims represented by lawyer Reyna Velasco, who have promoted the complaint to the CNDH.
María de Jesús Vázquez Silva:
The explosion caused severe burns and subsequent amputation of the left leg. He is currently in a wheelchair as the state government gave him a prosthetic that is not adequate, being the only support received. In addition, it was not recorded in the initial investigation as a victim of the facts, due to the poor work of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Omar Bernardo Navarrete Vázquez:
Son of Mary of Jesus. He suffered multiple fractures as a result of the stampede that generated the explosion. It required one-handed reconstruction surgery and to this day needs constant therapy. It also requires hip surgery, and has not been able to practice because the state government does not have the necessary equipment. He had to interrupt his studies.
Rocío García Guerrero:
He suffered multiple internal bleeding caused by the shards of one of the grenades. The treatment allowed him to be physically repaired and to this day he suffers from minor physical sequelae. However, as a result of the explosion, his son named Angel Uriel (underage) died, as well as his mother Elisa Guerrero García. And his brother José Garcia was seriously injured.
She resShe was unscathed but her husband Alfredo Sanchez died at the scene of the attack from one of the explosions. He was left in financial helplessness by his children, who on the day of the events were still dependent on the father.
José García Guerrero:
He suffered an exposed fracture of the tibia and fibula as well as the death of his mother Elia Guerrero and his nephew Angel Uriel, and serious injuries of his wife Aurora Bravo and sister Rocío Garcia. The following continues with shards embedded in both legs, which cause discomfort and require surgery.
Aurora Bravo Lucas:
Wife of José García. He also suffered multiple leg wounds and to date continued with shrapnel that cause shards that cause him pain. This is in addition to emotional impacts from the attack and the revictimization of recent years.
Ariana Cuevas Bravo:
Underage. He suffered a fractured right femur and burns to his torso. He was promised a school scholarship that he has not received so far. In general his family resulted in significant emotional and psychological involvements after the events.
Díaz Tapia Family:
Salvador Díaz Fernández suffered the death of his wife in the attack by name Leticia Tapia Guerrero, while their three children Salvador, Luis and Víctor were injured by the shards. They have faced various surgeries and have at least one more to perform to remove deep fragments that still cause them pain, but it has been postponed for lack of necessary supplies.
Salvador’s sister, Liliana Díaz, had to leave her job to take care of the three minors. The whole family faces psychological involvements to date.
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