Sergio Dante Almaraz, a lawyer for Victor Javier Garcia who was detained, along with Gustavo González Meza, for the murder of eleven women in Ciudad Juárez, maintains that his client had been tortured while in custody and forced to make a false confession. AMR 41/006/2003
On February 2, 2002, Mario Escobedo Anaya, Meza’s lawyer was shot dead by state judicial police. On February 8, 2003 Gustavo González Meza was found dead in his cell in the Maximum Security Prison in Chihuahua. According to released reports, Meza died as a result of a blood clot following a hernia operation.
Dante Almaraz said he has also received telephone death threats telling him to give up his defense work. He has said he had no doubt that state police were responsible for the threats, but said he would not give up the case. “The next time you call me, I’ll probably be dead, too,” they (state authorities) “are eliminating us one by one.” Dante Almarez says he was advised: ‘If you do not drop the case, we’ll kill you the same way we did Escobedo.’ [LINK]
Miriam García, Victor’s wife, received a threat by telephone, the same day that Escobedo Anaya was shot. The caller claimed that she would also die if she continued to speak out. Amnesty International has also received reports that the houses of the relatives of the detainees have continually been under surveillance by unknown persons. This is despite the Inter-American Human Commission on Rights issuing protection measures on behalf of Miriam Garcia, Blanca Guadalupe, the lawyer Sergio Dante Almaraz and another local human rights defender in September 2002. AMR 41/006/2003
Letter written March 12 2003 by Nerys Poole Abogada y miembro de LRWC
LRWC has received a letter from Lic. Sergio Antonio Martinez Garza, Secretary General of the Government, dated June 20th 2003. In the letter, Mr. Garza states that the autopsy certificate from the Forensic Medical Service of the Attorney General of State Justice, regarding the death Mr. Gustavo Gonzalez Meza, lists the causes of death as Pulmonary Tromboembolism, Scattered Intravascular Coagulation, and Multiple Hemangiomas. He also states that the LRWC letter written by Nerys Poole will be sent to the Attorney General of the State.