Published by proceso. Read the Spanish version here.

The release of "El Gil" shows the "carelessness" of the FGR in the Ayotzinapa case: Centro Prodh

Gloria Leticia Díaz | September 3, 2019

MEXICO CITY (apro) .- The release of Gildardo López Astudillo, 'El Gil', identified as leader of United Warriors, an organization attributed to the disappearance of the 43 normalistas of Ayotzinapa, is a sign of the "carelessness" of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) and the lack of attention to the calls of the parents of the victims to present new accusations.

This was stated by Santiago Aguirre Espinosa, director of the Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Prodh Center), one of the organizations that represents the families of the disappeared.

In an interview with Apro, Aguirre Espinosa acknowledged that, although officials of the previous administration of the Attorney General's Office (PGR) have responsibility for the release of López Astudillo and others involved in the case, it is “because they violated human rights, because they committed irregularities and because they committed arbitrary detentions,” but the truth is that “the care of the processes was up to the FGR.”

The legal representative of the families of the disappeared normalistas said that the Prodh Center was notified of the release this weekend by the First District Court of Criminal Procedure, after 63 of the 107 evidence submitted by the PGR were invalidated against López Astudillo, while the rest "did not have enough support to convict him."

After highlighting that "El Gil" is the first acquittal ruling related to the Ayotzinapa case, Aguirre Espinosa explained that the court's ruling "not only speaks of torture (suffered by the detainee), outlaws evidence for various irregularities, for torture of their co-defendants, arbitrary detentions, illegal proceedings, among others.”

The agency headed by Alejandro Gertz Manero, said, “they should have had a very clear diagnosis of how the causes were, who could leave and the people who could leave, to bring charges for other crimes in other inquiries that are open and avoid the result of impunity.”

In the case of Gildardo López Astudillo, he insisted, it was evident that the judicial process against him, armed by the PGR, would be invalidated, since the torture he was subjected to, as well as the illegal retention of his partner by the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime Investigation (SEIDO), were confirmed by the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-DH) and the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI).

After pointing out that the latest evidence presented by the PGR in the litigation against López Astudillo dates from November 2018 and the closing of the case was in February this year, the director of the Prodh Center said that “already with this administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador” there were elements for other types of crimes in which this individual could be held responsible.

“If it was clear that Gildardo and others were going to be released, why wasn't an indictment prepared in the last year to reflect those crimes? Or why wasn't other evidence presented? This shows that the files are not being taken care of as they should," the lawyer reiterated.

He warned that because of neglect of the FGR, characters who were prosecuted for their membership in the criminal group and for the disappearance of the young people, that the PGR criminalized as kidnapping, could recover their freedom, such as Sidronio Casarrubias, José Luis Abarca , Felipe Flores, César Nava, Francisco Salgado Valladares, Víctor Hugo Benítez Palacios and Ramiro Ocampo Pineda.

The director of the Prodh Center said that for the parents of the 43 disappeared, the release of López Astudillo “is a very serious blow, not because they are looking for detainees, but because of the missed opportunity to have information about boys, and in this particular case we consider that it is very likely that he had data to find the whereabouts of the students."

Similarly, he stressed that of the nearly 120 people the authorities claim are related to the case, only 70 were prosecuted. "The so-called abduction of the students, and of the 120, 40 already obtained their freedom, including the six arrested for historical truth," he stressed.

The case of López Astudillo, he added, is a warning that, despite the advances that the Commission for the Truth and Access to Justice of the Ayotzinapa Case may have made, "if they are not supported by all the institutions of the State, in compliance with the presidential decree, including the FGR, we are hardly going to find the truth and whereabouts of the young people."

On the release of López Astudillo, the president of the CNDH, Luis Raúl González Pérez, recalled that in the first report presented by the agency on the case, in May 2015, it was noted that “the processes had to be strengthened, that they were weak."

Four years after that warning, and a little more than nine months after issuing the recommendation for serious violations 15VG / 2018, González Pérez regretted that it is González Pérez regretted that it is "confirming that the deficiency of the appropriations, of the support in the proceedings, has resulted in the release of people, where there is still the uncertainty of achieving the right to truth, the access to justice, that there is a comprehensive reparation, that incorporates them, and above all that there are no guarantees of non-repetition in terms of sustaining strengthened processes."

Interviewed after participating in the inauguration of the Third Migration Summit of the Ibero-American Federation of the Ombudsman, González Pérez called on the FGR to rectify “what has been the institutional weakness in seeking justice” and to substantiate allegations in ministerial statements, some obtained by torture.

In the specific case of the disappearance of young people, he encouraged the withdrawal of at least 128 points of the recommendation, including 114 skeletal remains located in the Cocula dump, 41 of them petrosal. "If they correspond to the students, we move forward, if they do not correspond, they have an identity and there are 40 thousand missing," said the president of the CNDH.

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