There was a cover-up of the Tlatlaya massacre that went as high as state and federal prosecutors, according to new information provided by an eyewitness.
One of the three witnesses to the killing of 22 presumed criminal gang members in a warehouse in Tlatlaya on June 30 has told the Associated Press (AP) that State of Mexico investigators physically assaulted her when she refused to sign a statement saying the 22 victims had died in a shootout with soldiers.
The 20-year-old woman, one of two who were released earlier this month after weapons charges against them were dropped, said officials kicked her in the ribs, put a bag over head and plunged her face into a toilet bowl. Her hearing and her eyesight were damaged by the beating, she says.
She claims the cover-up of the massacre involved more than the seven soldiers who have been charged in connection with it, and included state and federal prosecutors who wanted to make the deaths appear to be the result of a gunbattle.
One witness had previously told AP reporters, who first broke the story after concluding that evidence at the crime scene was suspicious, that most of the victims were killed after they had surrendered to the soldiers.
The AP report, published today, said it has obtained case files that support the witness’s claim that prosecutors knew soldiers had altered the crime scene.
Two days after the beating the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was taken to Mexico City where investigators in the federal attorney general’s office pressed her into signing a false statement, she said.
Army officials and the state and federal attorneys general initially rejected any suggestion that the gunfight story was false, and claimed the crime scene had been preserved in its original state. But later they backtracked when evidence contradicted their version of events.
Federal Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam didn’t respond to repeated requests by AP for comment, but the state prosecutor’s office said there is an investigation under way into claims of a cover-up.
Meanwhile, evidence in the case has been sealed by federal authorities for 12 years and by state authorities for 15.
Source: Associated Press (en)