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Posters tell the stories of the missing in Nuevo Laredo, describing them as 'victims of the navy.' Posters tell the stories of the missing in Nuevo Laredo, describing them as 'victims of the navy.'

Nuevo Laredo families want navy barracks searched

Rights group documents 57 cases of navy involvement

Relatives of the 57 missing persons who were allegedly disappeared by the navy in Tamaulipas this year have demanded that federal authorities search the naval barracks in Nuevo Laredo.

Victims’ family members and representatives of the Nuevo Laredo Human Rights Committee (CDHNL) made the plea during a meeting with officials from the federal Attorney General’s office (PGR) and the Interior Secretariat (Segob) yesterday.

Representatives from the office of the United Nations (UN) High Commission for Human Rights and the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) also attended.

The UN said last week that there are “strong indications” that federal security forces were responsible for the disappearance of 23 people in the northern border city between February and May, but the CDHNL says that it has documented 57 cases in which the navy was allegedly involved.

Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that “it is vital the Mexican authorities carry out an effective search for those whose whereabouts are still unknown and conduct a diligent, independent and complete investigation to find out what happened, identify those responsible and ensure they are brought to justice.”

The PGR subsequently announced that it would investigate the disappearances.

Outside yesterday’s meeting, the wife of Daniel Trejo García, who disappeared on March 27, told the newspaper Milenio that family members hope their pleas to authorities will not be ignored.

“We’re expecting responses, that the navy takes responsibility . . .  that the PGR does something. We didn’t go to file a complaint just for them to throw it onto a whole pile of complaints. [We want] them to support us in the searches, to give us access to the barracks and more than anything to return our family members to us,” Jessica Molina said.

She said navy personnel came on to her property and took her husband and a friend of his from their home.

Molina assured Milenio that she had absolutely no doubt that the two men disappeared at the hands of the navy.

“. . . I was a witness to them taking [my husband] from my house, in my presence . . . I saw fully-equipped, fully-uniformed and fully-trained navy personnel carrying out an operation looking for [someone named] Willy. I have no idea who that person is,” she said.

Following yesterday’s meeting, the PGR, Segob and the Navy Secretariat (Semar) issued a joint statement to say that the office of the Special Prosecutor for the Investigation of Enforced Disappearances has drawn up plans to carry out an investigation to clarify the facts in 20 cases.

The statement also said that the Federal Police has been ordered to conduct a detailed investigation to obtain further evidence and establish criminal responsibility, adding that the navy has complied with the measures that had been recommended.

The three federal government agencies also said the navy “carried out a diligent and effective search for the disappeared persons” with the participation of their family members, describing it as both “impartial” and “exhaustive.”

Family members have previously said they have been forced to conduct their own searches due to the inaction of authorities.

The statement said that family members, witnesses and human rights advocates would be afforded adequate protection to ensure their security as recommended by the UN.

It added that the government and the UN High Commission for Human Rights agreed to meet periodically to review new information and evidence in order to strengthen the investigations into the case of each missing person.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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