The Mexican justice system found 11 police officers guilty of murder who killed 17 migrants on the border between Mexico and the United States in January 2021. The police officers lied to the justice system when they claimed that they had found the bodies. This is an emblematic case, whose trial lasted more than three months.
This is one of a massacre of migrants in Mexico. On Thursday, September 14, Judge Patricio Lugo Jaramillo found 11 police officers who killed 17 migrants in a rural area of Camargo guilty of murder.municipality located on the border of the Mexican state Tamaulipas and Texas.
The trial lasted more than three months, but the judge already specified that he will hand down the sentences next Tuesday, October 19. They could be up to 69 years in prison.
The events occurred on January 22, 2021, when Mexican authorities discovered a burned-out van with the charred remains of 19 people. Among them, 17 migrantsof which 16 were from Guatemala, who were seeking to enter the United States illegally.
The police officers, who belonged to an elite unit of the Mexican police, lied to justice. They claimed that they had found the charred bodies in the vehicle. However, the victims “were shot to death and then burned,” according to the prosecutor’s statement.
The 12 police officers who participated in the macabre operation were accused by the Mexican justice system, but one of them, Ismael Vasquez, was convicted only of abuse of authority and crime in the performance of his duties, and avoided the charge of murder, revealing what that really happened that day in January 202. The uniformed man explained that it was his companions who first killed the migrants before burning them.
There are many victims who deserve justice.
There are many families waiting for answers.
— Foundation for Justice (@FJEDD) September 12, 2023
Other testimonies corroborated the statements of the repentant Ismael Vasquez. A resident of the area specified where the events occurred and claimed to have seen police patrols chasing the migrants’ vans with sounds of gunshots. GPS evidence from one of the patrol cars and videos from security cameras further overwhelmed the police, whose version of events did not convince the judge.
“It was a brutal event. Instead of giving them water as they asked, they shot them down. And it was not enough, they set them on fire,” Yesenia Valdez, lawyer for the victims’ families, declared during the hearing, in words reported by the newspaper El Pais.
The lawyer added that they never thought that they would find death, torture, execution in Mexican territory, much less that police officers would do it.
Violence against migrants multiplies in Mexico
It is the first time that the Mexican justice system condemns state agents for a massacre against migrants. The Foundation for Justice and the Jesuit Network with Migrants “Nobody is Illegal” They celebrated the decision:
The Camargo Massacre shows that, in Mexico, State agents torture and murder migrants, and we cannot forget that there are other massacres whose investigations are in the hands of the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic, which maintains a machine of impunity.
The story of the Camargo massacre highlights part of the tragic fate of migrants in Mexico who seek to cross the border with the United States. Cases of violence against migrants regularly appear in the headlines of the local and national press.
In the same state of Tamaulipas, 72 migrants were murdered by alleged drug traffickers in August 2010. The Tamaulipas route is the shortest route to the United States for migrants coming from the south, but the region is dangerous due to the presence of criminal gangs and drug traffickers.
Judge declares guilty the 12 police officers involved in the Camargo Massacre. 🎉🎉🎉
— Foundation for Justice (@FJEDD) September 15, 2023
In addition to murders, disappearances of migrants often occur. On the International Day of Victims of Forced Disappearances, last August 30, the Foundation for Justice, the Latin American Block on Migration and the Committee of Missing Migrant Relatives of El Progreso, in Honduras, denounced that More than 1,800 migrants are missing in Mexico.
For its part, In January 2022, the NGO Human Rights Watch reported in a report titled “A shameful record: the Biden administration’s use of Trump policies endangers people seeking asylum,” at least 8,705 cases of kidnappings, torture, rape and other violent attacks against migrants expelled from the United States to Mexico or blocked from seeking protective asylum at the border during 2021.
New wave of migration on the border between Mexico and the United States
The situation is more critical since the beginning of August 2023, so The border areas with the United States are known as a new wave of migration. In Ciudad Juarez, on the border with Texas, migrant support organizations estimate there are around 8,000 migrants present in the city and the shelters have reached their maximum capacities.
Like other parts of the U.S. border, the number of migrants in Ciudad Juarez had dropped after Title 42 was closed in mid-May of this year. The measure, implemented by Trump, and renewed several times, facilitated the expulsions of migrants who presented themselves at the border with the United States.
However, after the United States ambassador announced a plan to begin processing migrants from centers in Mexico, a new wave of people began arriving. The region faces an unprecedented migratory flow, according to local authorities, with more than 2.76 million undocumented people who have been intercepted by the United States on the border with Mexico in 2022.
With AFP, EFE and local media
Source: France 24