<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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Oaxaca Justice Condemns Innocent APPO Man for the Murder of Brad Will

No Evidence and No Witnesses to the Actual Crime: Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno Sentenced to Prison

By Nancy Davies
Commentary from Oaxaca

July 10, 2009

Read Amendment Below July 19, 2009

Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno has been sentenced to prison by the judge of the Fifth Federal Court, Rosa Iliana Noriega Perez, for the murder of US Indymedia videographer Brad Will on October 26, 2006. This in spite of:

  • Brad Will video-graphed his murderers running toward him carrying pistols
  • The two assailants shown in the video, Abel Zarate, registrar of Santa Lucia del Camino, and Oswaldo Manuel Aguilar Coello who was a municipal police officer, were arrested but subsequently released by government orders. Both are strongly tied to the PRI
  • There was no evidence for accusing Juan Martinez Moreno, who was standing near, not facing, Brad Will when Will was shot
  • The “witnesses” in fact saw nothing; Feria Perez, the chief witness, admitted he repeated hearsay

D.R. 2009 Noticias
One of Martinez Moreno’s lawyers noted that Judge Noriega Perez, accepted that Martinez Moreno should be sentenced because his legal stays had expired, although nothing has been proved against him. The judge ordered that the testimony of the two witnesses, Alfredo Feria Perez, the nephew of the former PRI municipal president of Santa Lucia del Camino, and PRIista Carol Ivan Ilescas Resendiz, be accepted as fact, although Feria Perez said, “he knew from comments made by others that Brad Will had been killed by an APPO activist.” And who made that comment? It was the Attorney General of Oaxaca at the time, Lizbeth Cana Cadeza.

The frame-up is clearly the work of the Oaxaca government, in cahoots with the federal government. Their reason: money from the USA for Plan Merida would not be forthcoming if Brad Will’s killer were not caught. This is the only one of the (at least) twenty-three homicides of APPO sympathizers in which someone has been indicted and judged guilty – the wrong guy. All the deaths of the 2006 uprising against the APPO were the work of government death squads.

The court order kills the suspense ― at least for now ― after four different judicial hearings and court stays preceding Martinez Moreno’s sentence to imprisonment at Santa Maria Ixcotel, near Oaxaca City. His sentence has raised the ire of not only the APPO, but also the family of Brad Will, who have known for some time that a cover-up is in process. Also outraged are clerical and civil groups. Mexican and USA clerics – eighty-four from the USA and eighty-one from Mexico – sent a letter to presidents Calderon and Obama stating that the guilty verdict could only be “a justification and condition to accelerate the funds to Mexico to carry out Plan Merida.”

In the letter, also sent to the US Department of State and to the Mexican Secretary of Government, the clerics urge a review of the case taking into account the recommendations of the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH, in its Spanish initials) and international organizations which all discounted the idea that Martinez Moreno was involved in the killing. The bias was so evident that the CNDH recommended that the case against Martinez Moreno be thrown out.

Martinez Moreno, a baker by trade, was arrested two years after Will’s death, in October of 2008. The letter states, “Juan Manuel is not responsible for the crime he is accused of. And during the judicial process many grave irregularities are found which make the case unjust and illegal. And more than that, Juan Manuel’s family and lawyers have been the objects of various pressures and intimidations. The more than twenty-three homicides of 2006 remain in absolute impunity and obviously there is no one being detained. Only, surprisingly, Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno, accused of the death of the North American journalist. All the assassinated during the political conflict are Oaxaqueños, with the exception of Bradley Roland Will.”

  1. Source: Noticias, Friday July 10, 2009

Amendment July 19, 2009: As for Juan Manuel Martinez Moreno being sentenced—it turns out that was not so; he was sentenced to a judicial hearing (as opposed to being freed), which will also be in front of a judge, there being no jury trial system. He’s been held for nearly a 580 days in Ixcotel, and was never freed throughout the prior four court protection amparos. Now his lawyers will have to convince the judge who can actually declare him guilty and sentence him in the sense of the word as we use it in the USA, or free him.

Facing this, his lawyers have called on anybody who has more evidence in the way of photos or videos or actually saw the shooters. Meanwhile, a committee arrived from Mexico City by a special airplane. They were from the federal body that investigates crimes against journalists. They came unannounced and never contacted anybody in state government, also bringing investigating officials from the United States. What all that means I don’t know—clearly the case is not closed.

My apologies to all readers for creating confusion.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America