Álvarez Icaza: fraud charges unfounded. Álvarez Icaza: fraud charges unfounded.

Fraud probe slammed by commission chief

Decision to investigate executive secretary sign of 'authoritarian regression'

Mexico has been accused of “authoritarian regression” by the executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who claimed a criminal complaint against him is “reckless and unfounded.”

Emilio Álvarez Icaza was responding to a decision by the Attorney General to conduct a preliminary investigation into an accusation of fraud made by the Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice.

The council alleged that Álvarez Icaza misappropriated funds allocated to the GIEI, a group of experts investigating the 2014 disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students.

“Not in the Peru of [Alberto] Fujimori nor in the Venezuela of [Hugo] Chávez is there a precedent for a preliminary investigation of the executive secretary of the commission,” Álvarez Icaza, a Mexican citizen, told a press conference in Washington, D.C., today.

He characterized the Attorney General’s inquiry as an attack designed to discredit the GIEI and represented “a clear indication of authoritarian regression in Mexico.”

“If the government attacks international organizations in this manner, how can it be expected to act with human rights defenders in its own country?”

Relations between the government and the GIEI have been rocky since the latter issued a report that challenged the Attorney General’s findings into the Ayotzinapa case, although it was the government that sought technical assistance from the human rights commission.

There may be further disagreement now that Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong has said the GIEI will not stay on after the end of April, when its contract runs out.

The commission has said it has not been informed of that decision.

The parents of the missing students, who had pressed for an independent investigation, have asked the commission to continue investigating the case through the GIEI.

The latter has discounted the Attorney General’s conclusion that the bodies of 43 students of the Ayotzinapa teacher training college, who disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, September 26, 2014, were burned at a garbage dump.

The Attorney General is conducting a new investigation of the dump with the help of international experts.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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