warehouse in tlatlaya Scene of the massacre.

Authorities release Tlatlaya survivors

They were sex workers held on weapons charges but in the end there was no evidence

Five months after they were arrested and a month after the Human Rights Commission (CNDH) said they should be released without delay, two survivors of the Tlatlaya massacre have been freed.

The two women were present when a confrontation took place between an army patrol and a group of presumed criminal gang members in Tlatlaya, State of Mexico, on June 30. Later, they offered testimony confirming that the 22 gang members didn’t die in a shoot-out with soldiers, the army’s version, but were massacred by them.

But that testimony came after they were tortured and sexually abused by state officials who wished to produce evidence to back up the army’s story, according to the CNDH.

The incident has brought to light an attempted cover-up of the events or inept bungling by investigators, or perhaps both.

The women, who had been facing weapons charges, were ordered released yesterday by a federal judge after the federal attorney general found no evidence to proceed.

In November, the head of the CNDH at the time, Raúl Plascencia, said the commission’s investigation had revealed there was no evidence to implicate the two women. They were in the warehouse where the shootings took place, he said, because they were prostitutes who had been hired by the leader of the gang.

After inquiries by Associated Press reporters, who broke the story of the massacre, the United Nations and the CNDH, the army changed its version and then discovered there had been irregularities.

That discovery eventually led to the arrest of seven soldiers who are now facing homicide and other charges.

Tlatlaya and Iguala, the massacre that followed a few months later, have come as a shocking reminder of the inadequacy of institutions of the government. The new head of the human rights commission, Luis Raúl González Pérez, said on Saturday that institutions have lost the public trust and there is a perception that authorities are distant and indifferent over what has taken place.

A change of attitude, strategy and discourse is needed to understand the complexity of the collective anger in the country and the risk to the government of losing its legitimacy, he stated.

González Pérez made the observations at the annual presentation of the National Human Rights Prize. It’s something to celebrate that they were able to find someone to give it to.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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