Jan 17, 2012

Human Rights Violations - Guerrero Students: Police implicated in the Guerrero student deaths say they are "scapegoats"

Milenio: Chilpancingo, Guerrero,  "We are scapegoats," Rey David Cortes Flores, a policeman with the Ministerial Investigative Police (PIM), said after the first criminal court (of Guerrero) granted the State Attorney General's Office (PGJE) an extension of 15 days detention for him and his partner, Ismael Matadama Salinas.

The head office of the PGJE, Juan Manuel Herrera Campos announced Sunday he would initiate criminal prosecution against (the two men), as they are found to be the probable perpetrators of the murder of Alexis Herrera Pino and Gabriel Echeverria de Jesus, students at the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa.

In the preliminary reading of the case, a document was released that the Guerrero prosecutor sent to different media in the state, requesting delivery of photographic and video material to strengthen the case against the two policemen. The lawyer for the accused, Antonio Nogueda Carbajal, said the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence to support his accusation.

At the end of the hearing, Rey David Cortes Flores addressed the reporters covering the proceedings and expressed his dissatisfaction with the performance of the PGJE. "We are scapegoats, both my companion and I. We owe this to the director of criminal investigations, Nicholas Marciano Peñaloza Agama, who wants to be state attorney general, with the support of Governor Ernesto Aguirre. Many friends have told us this," he charged.

He regretted that he was being kept under arrest even though the state does not have strong evidence to bring to trial and he repeated the popular maxim: "He who owes nothing, fears nothing." He said there was a team of investigators from the federal Attorney General's Office (PGR) that tested them with negative results.

He admitted he poiinted his gun at the students but did not fire; he raised the gun only to scare the students who were hurling rocks and sticks. "If I shot, it was towards four boys who were 20 meters away and I did it with my eyes closed," he said.

He regretted that, to date, no member of the Federal Preventive Police (PFP), has been subpoened, which he said is because they have the full backing of the federal government. Instead, he said, he and his companion find themselves totally alone.

"Our attorneys are paid for by our families. We have requested help from all the government agencies; we are completely alone," he said. With red eyes and broken voice, he said that he expected that no one in the state government will be punished for the death of the normal school students. "As always, the rope always breaks at the thinnest pont, we are the rope, completely defenseless." Spanish original

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