VICTOR MANUEL OROPEZA, México
A homeopathic doctor, journalist and as well an avid reader. Also a sportsman, excelling in skiing and swimming. He was born in Puebla but 60 years later, on July 3, 1991, he died far from there, in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua state, after putting up a fierce resistance to two assailants who stabbed him 14 times in the stomach after waiting for him with two others in his consulting room.
It was 7:30 p.m. when his dead body lay in a pool of blood. On failing to arrive at home or answering the telephone around midnight his wife and a son went to his consulting room. They came across his body.
He had been working as journalist for 28 years. He was still using is loyal old Remington typewriter. His writings had gained weight and importance in his column “A mi manera” (My Way), which he had published since 1984 in the Ciudad Juárez newspaper Diario de Juárez. Before that he had done so in El Universal in the same city and in the Diario de Chihuahua. He once got involved in politics, taking part in the launching of the Mexican Workers Party and then showing an inclination towards the National Action Party (PAN).
In his constant editorial criticism he would refer to the “close relationship” between the police and drug traffickers, several times identifying by name police officers engaging in abuses and human rights violations. The search for those who murdered him faded out. No one has been charged. The first police investigators in the case were the same ones that he had criticized in his newspaper column for having links with drug traffickers. The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) alleged that confessions by two suspects were obtained under torture and coercion, leading to their being freed.
The Oropeza case was submitted by the IAPA to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in March 1997, arguing that with this murder and the shortcomings in the proceedings there had been a violation of the standards of the American Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to life, personal integrity, equality under the law, freedom of expression, legal guarantees and judicial protection.
The government said that all necessary actions were taken to find those guilty of the murder. However, the process ignored a clue pointed out by the IAPA – a voluntary statement made by Jesús “Chuy” Molina to a reporter from the Diario de Juárez, confessing to be one of those guilty of the crime, telling how the murder had been committed and implicating his accomplices, an account that coincides with evidence and eye-witness testimony. The statement was not published, but the tape recording was handed over to the State Attorney’s Office. Nevertheless, nothing has been solved. There has been a cover-up. There is an unjustified and deliberate delay. Impunity continues.
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