Jun 2, 2007

Hester Van Nierop's parents in Ciudad Juarez

The Killing Fields continue

Reprinted by permission from Nuevas de Mexico/Mexico News:
Copyright 2007/Nuevas de Mexico/Mexico news

News blackout on the Dutch woman's case

June 2, 2007

By Kelly McKenzie:

CIUDAD JUAREZ-- Human rights activists alleged there is a news blackout in this Mexican city, or perhaps outright censorship, to hide the fact that Hester Suzanne Van Nierop's parents traveled from the Netherlands to the border to check on the status of their daughter's investigation.

The 28-year-old Hester Suzanne Van Nierop was murdered in 1998, and with her death joined the long list of unsolved murders of women (and men) in Ciudad Juarez.

Her body was discovered under a bed in the Hotel Plaza on Segunda de Ugarte in downtown Juarez. This was the second time Roland and Arsene Van Nierop have come to the border to press for a solution to their daughter's case.

Roland Van Nierop said he was not optimistic about the investigation based on what he learned recently from the authorities.

The couple was escorted by Casa Amiga staff members, who invited members of the local news media to a press conference. A couple of TV people showed up, but none of the print and online media people attended or published a word about their visit.

More scapegoats alleged

Activists said they are concerned the Chihuahua authorities are preparing to announce that they solved the remaining cases, going back to 1993, by attributing the deaths to a trio of men introduced in the beginning of the investigation by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Antonio O. Garza.

The activists and Mexico criminologist Oscar Maynez Grijalva said the three men likely are the latest in a series of scapegoats presented by the Mexican authorities in their quest to solve the cases.
This time, they alleged, the authorities might use scientific, yet fabricated evidence, to indict the three men.
More than 475 women have been killed violently in Ciudad Juarez since 1993.

The specter of corruption
This week, police in Juarez arrested a pair of men they suspected of being "gatilleros," hired guns who work for organized crime.

One of them produced a credential that says he works for Chihuahua state's gobernacion (governance) department. At the moment of their detention, the suspects had in their possession a gold-plated AK-47 assault rifle.

Their detention comes a week after two city police officers were gunned down.

U.S. Journalist Kelly McKenzie has reported on Mexico for various news outlets since 1994.