No justice in Mexico
Noted Mexican photojournalist Sergio Dorantes is now involved in the most important story of his life and if it goes badly it will be his last one ever. Dorantes, who has covered stories ranging from earthquakes to drug trafficking to HIV and human rights abuses in Guatemala has been accused of murdering his former wife. In spite of a case so weak that the only piece of evidence linking him to the crime is an eye witness who has now stated on national television (click here to watch the clip) that police paid him to place Dorantes near the scene of the crime, Mexican judicial authorities have pursued Dorantes relentlessly. Since US federal marshals used Dorantes’s applications filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in order to locate him to track and arrest him in February 2007. He was held in a maximum security prison in California for six months and released on bail in August 2007, which was a unique legal precedent. Sergio fought extradition to Mexico for more than a year, fearing that once there a confession might be tortured out of him to bolster the procecutor’s failing case. His fears are justified: in 1989 when covering a drug trafficking story for The New York Times police beat him so badly that he spent three weeks in hospital.
In 2007 Amnesty International
reported on the Mexican judicial system:
Prominent Mexican Human Rights lawyer Barbara Zamora points out that the case file doesn't even contain a time of death, while another suspect, a former policeman known to have visited the dead woman on the day of her death was released in spite of the fact that blood was found on his shoes.
In a game where the odds have already been fixed against him, Dorantes doesn't appear to have a chance of winning. Sergio's treatment is a crime that should not be ignored.
If you care about him, or about the abuse of human rights in Mexico, please write to the Mexican president, Felipe Calderón; to the district attorney for Mexico City; and to the Mexican ambassador. You can find the addresses by clicking here.
I am familiar with the details of the case of Sergio Dorantes, accused of killing his wife, Alejandra Dehesa in July of 2003. In the U.S., persons accused of a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I understand that your system differs in that until one proves their innocence, they are presumed guilty. Does that explain why Mr. Dorantes is being tried in the press in Mexico City?
From what I understand, the CDHDF has established that the only evidence that is not hearsay or circumstantial, was the statement of a witness who came forward a full month after the crime to identify Sergio Dorantes as the man he saw running from the scene. Later, an internal affairs investigation in the Procuraduria's office established that the "witness" was bribed by a Ministerio Publico and her brother. Now the witness has disappeared. Where is the prosecution's case? Obviously, the real murderer escapes justice while the Procuraduria chases after phantoms. And those guilty of the bribe and perjury go free.
The question is, why is the Procuraduria's office so intent on pursuing Mr. Dorantes in spite of the lack of evidence or motive? Are they just trying to solve a high profile case without doing the actual investigative work that is necessary or are they covering up for the real criminal?