Mexican former state governor to be tried for organized crime

7/23/2017 Reuters

A former state governor from Mexico’s ruling party will stand trial for engaging in organized crime and handling funds of illicit origin after a judge reviewing evidence approved the case, the attorney general’s office said on Saturday.

Javier Duarte, who until 2016 governed the Gulf coast state of Veracruz for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has been accused by the opposition of siphoning off millions of dollars during his six-year tenure.

On Monday, Duarte was extradited to Mexico from Guatemala, where he was captured in April after spending months on the run. He has denied any wrongdoing. Some doubts had surfaced in the past few days about the strength of the case against him.

However, after presenting 82 pieces of evidence in hearings on Saturday, the attorney general’s office said in a statement that the judge gave prosecutors six months to proceed with the investigation against 43-year-old Duarte.

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Mexican Hacking Case Deserves Independent Inquiry, U.N. Envoys Say

7/19/2017 The New York Times

united nationsUnited Nations human rights experts called on Mexico’s government on Wednesday to establish an independent investigation into smartphone surveillance of human rights lawyers, journalists and social activists.

The hacking effort, using advanced spyware whose sale is restricted to governments, has generated a furor in Mexico. The attorney general’s office, one of the agencies that acquired the spyware, known as Pegasus, has opened an investigation.

But the Mexican government recently blocked a proposal for the country’s new anticorruption board to investigate the hacking — an inquiry that would have been more transparent than an ordinary criminal investigation.

By limiting the case to the attorney general’s office, the Mexican government is investigating itself with no outside oversight, the four United Nations experts said in a statement from Geneva.

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U.N. experts seek halt to use of spyware in Mexico and want full probe

07/19/2017 Reuters

united nationsGENEVA (Reuters) – U.N. human rights experts called on the government of Mexico on Wednesday to “cease the surveillance immediately” of activists and journalists and to conduct a fully impartial investigation into the illegal spying.

In the latest case, an international probe into the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Mexico was targeted with spying software sold to governments to fight criminals and terrorists, according to a report published last week.

Civilians in Mexico have been targeted by the software known as Pegasus, which Israeli company NSO Group only sells to governments, according to the report by Citizen Lab, a group of researchers based at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

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Disgraced Mexican ex-governor extradited from Guatemala

7/17/2017 Reuters

Duarte
Guatemala National Civil Police, via Associated Press

A former state governor from Mexico’s ruling party wanted for embezzlement and organized crime was extradited to his homeland from Guatemala on Monday, the Mexican government said.

Javier Duarte, who until last year governed the Gulf coast state of Veracruz for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is suspected of siphoning off millions of dollars during his tenure.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

His case has become emblematic of government failure to root out corruption, undermining support for the PRI, which has been Mexico’s dominant party for most of the past century.

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Guatemala says ex-Mexican governor could be extradited within a week

7/12/2017 Reuters

Duarte
(Guatemala National Civil Police via AP) 

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemala is ready to turn over to Mexico next week a former state governor wanted on charges of embezzlement and organized crime, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday, in a case that further tarnished the Mexican ruling party’s record on corruption.

Javier Duarte, who governed the Gulf state of Veracruz for President Enrique Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) until last year, could be returned to Mexico on July 17, Guatemalan foreign ministry spokesman Tekandi Paniagua said.

“Mexico has proposed July 17 at nine in the morning for the extradition,” Paniagua said.

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What’s Behind Rising Violence in Colima?: A Brief Look at 2016’s Most Violence Mexican State

expert I (2)The Expert Take, By Eric L. Olson & Gina Hinojosa

May 2017 was Mexico’s deadliest month on record.[1] 2,200 people were reportedly murdered nationwide that month, bringing the country’s death toll to nearly 10,000 since the beginning of the year. If the violence continues at this pace, 2017 will become Mexico’s most murderous year since the federal government began releasing homicide data in 1997, surpassing its previous annual homicide record of 23,000 murders in 2011.

Mexico has struggled with elevated violence for over a decade since the government launched an aggressive campaign against the country’s drug cartels in 2007. Deploying federal troops to communities particularly affected by drug violence has done little to stem criminal organizations’ drug trafficking operations[2] or curb violent crime. In fact, by 2011, Mexico’s murder rate had more than doubled, and while homicides declined moderately between 2012 and 2014, violence picked up once more in 2015 and has continued to rise since (see Figure 1).

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Rights Groups Plea for International Criminal Court Assessment of Coahuila, Mexico Case

7/7/2017 InSight Crime

crime sceneHuman rights organizations in Mexico are calling for the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged crimes against humanity in the state of Coahuila, once again raising questions over the court’s jurisdiction in cases of criminal violence and the impunity that surrounds it.

In a document compiled by the International Federation of Human Rights (Federación Internacional de Derechos Humanos – FIDH), 17 human rights groups present evidence that crimes committed in the north Mexico state of Coahuila between 2009 and 2016 amount to crimes against humanity that have not and will not be investigated in the country, and that as a result the International Criminal Court (ICC) should launch its own investigations.

Using interviews with victims, investigations into disappearances by both the state and human rights groups, along with reports, statements and articles from the media and international bodies, the report flags up three areas in which it argues the ICC would have jurisdiction.

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