Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Soldier tried by civilian court in Mexico

A Mexican soldier has been convicted by a civilian court in Mexico. Details here from La Crónica:
A district judge set a precedent in Nuevo Leon, sentencing to 18 years in prison a soldier who killed an innocent couple when he exchanged fire with an armed group in the municipality of Anahuac, about 200 kilometers north of Monterrey. 
This time the soldier was not tried by a military court. 
The president of Citizens in Support of Human Rights, AC (CADHAC), Consuelo Morales, reported that it was unprecedented in Nuevo Leon when cavalryman Juan Ortiz was sentenced by a non-military judge. 
Morales said that the district judge for criminal matters in Nuevo Leon, Eustasio Salinas Wolberg, found the suspect guilty of intentional manslaughter while acquitting soldiers Alain Joshua Reyes and Francisco Melendez, who also were involved in the 3 March 2010 incident. 
Rocio Elias Garza and her husband Juan Carlos Peña Chavarría were killed by soldiers in 2010 in Anahuac, when they left his job at a factory to pick up their children, but were caught in the gunfire. Peña Chavarría took cover in a vehicle and after the shooting the woman came to ask for help with her arms raised, but the soldiers fired at her legs. 
Consuelo Morales said the soldier admitted that he approached the victims and shot them in the head. 
For his part, Carlos Trevino, coordinator of the association's legal department, said the ruling will be appealed on the ground that this was an intentional homicide and would ask that the defendant be convicted of qualified homicide. . . . 
They are also appealing the acquittal of the other two soldiers, one of whom was accused of tampering with the crime scene and the other with altering his account of the events. [Rough Google translation]

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