Burned-out bus at the scene of the confrontation in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca. Burned-out bus at the scene of the confrontation in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca.

A year and a half later, Nochixtlán advances

Justice officials forego protocol due to lack of trust by relatives of victims of 2016 massacre

A year and a half later, legal proceedings in the case of the Nochixtlán massacre are moving forward.

The first criminal pre-trial session took place yesterday in an unprecedented event: instead of being held in the headquarters of the federal Attorney General (PGR), officials from that office traveled to Oaxaca city and met on the steps of the state’s human rights agency.

The reason? Lack of trust in federal authorities on the part of relatives of three of the victims of Nochixtlán, a confrontation between security forces and protesting teachers in June 2016 in which eight people were killed in gunfire.

The relatives requested that the proceedings take place away from PGR headquarters because they were afraid they would be intimidated and affected psychologically within the Attorney General’s offices.

Nochixtlán Victims’ Commission president Santiago Ambrosio Hernández explained that yesterday’s event was a step forward in the investigation.

During the procedure, the relatives were given the status of “offended party” by the PGR, granting them and their lawyers access to the investigation files. The documentation was delivered in full during the outdoor proceedings.

The delivery of documents was witnessed by leaders of Section 22, the Oaxaca local of the dissident CNTE teachers’ union.

The next step for family members is to ratify their formal complaints on a date yet to be set by PGR authorities.

“This is the first progress we’ve got,” Ambrosio said, remarking later that the official recognition of the relatives of three victims as the offended party was “just the beginning,” given that eight people were killed and over 170 injured.

The PGR had attempted to complete yesterday’s proceedings on two occasions. On both the PGR canceled, claiming that the conditions were not ideal because of mobilizations by Section 22 teachers.

Ambrosio rejected claim. He said the teachers’ union was never opposed to the formalities taking place. He also claimed that the two previous attempts by the PGR were “erroneous.”

The massacre occurred after police attempted to clear a highway blockade erected by the teachers’ union. In the ensuing clash, a human rights investigation found, armed civilians fired at police, but the latter used excessive force.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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