Sunday, February 24, 2013

México: Chamber of Deputies Steps in to Ensure Integrity of Prosecution of Assailants of Spanish Tourists

According to Hispanically Speaking News, México’s lower house (the Chamber of Deputies) has formed a special working group to monitor the investigation into the case of six Spanish women raped earlier this month in the Pacific resort of Acapulco.

The multi-party commission of 12 lawmakers will be presided over by the heads of the Chamber of Deputies’ Human Rights and Equity and Gender committees, Miriam Cardeñas and Martha Micher, respectively.

The panel is scheduled to meet on February 26, with Angel Aguirre, governor of Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, and with local lawmakers to “request a broadening of the investigation.”

COMMENT: Unidentified gunmen raped the six Spanish tourists around 0300 hours on February 4, in Playa Bonfil, located in the eastern section of Acapulco, one of México’s most popular tourist destinations.

The victims and several Spanish male companions were outside their bungalow when five masked assailants armed with handguns confronted them. After gagging the men, the attackers forced the group inside the bungalow and assaulted the six Spanish women, though they spared a Mexican woman who was with them.

The victims’ rape ordeal lasted for about three hours and the assailants also robbed them of their PCs, cell phones, credit cards and other valuables when they left.

Mysteriously, nine days later, Mexican authorities announced the arrest of six suspects and simply announced that they had confessed.

As our readers may recall, I alluded to the possibility that the criminal justice system's failure to identify the defendants and offer some degree of transparency in the media suggested that innocent persons might well have been "scooped up" by the police in order to divert an adverse impact on the country's lucrative tourism industry. 

Nevertheless, Ms. Cardeñas, of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) said it is important to monitor the case to make sure investigators “determine with convincing evidence who took part in the criminal acts of February 4, and punish them with the full force of the law.”

Cardeñas said Acapulco has the highest rate of violence of any Mexican city and urged the adoption of measures to ensure public safety. According to official figures, 14,050 rapes and 17,459 other sexual crimes were reported in México in 2012.

Monitoring of the working group will be updated as new information becomes available. 

In a related development, please see my posting of today describing the murder of a Belgian senior, who was shot and killed while resisting the armed theft of his Mercedes-Benz.