ricardo dominguez on Sat, 14 Dec 2002 10:49:06 +0100 (CET)

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[nettime-lat] Ciudad Juárez: Lawyer Beaten, Links Found in Disappearances

December 12, 2002

Ciudad Juárez Women´s News: Lawyer Beaten, Links Found in Disappearances

Gustavo de la Rosa Hickerson, a Ciudad Juárez labor lawyer, university
professor, women´s activist and former prison director, was pulled over,
beaten, robbed and threatened between 12:00 and 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday,
December 11 while driving to his home near Cd. Juárez.

The four men that attacked de la Rosa tried to stop his car three times
but he escaped on the first two of these occasions. When he was finally
stopped De la Rosa had a gun pointed at him, was severely beaten and told
"not to be so brave or outspoken." His wallet, passport and cell phone
were also stolen from him.

Because of the lights the pursuing vehicle used and the men´s weapons,
de la Rosa believes that his assailants were police officers. De la Rosa
also believes that robbery was not the motive for the attack because he
is not a wealthy man, drives an old car and the warning or threat meant
that the men knew who he was.

De la Rosa told the Cd. Juárez newspaper El Diario that only two people
are angry at him: State Attorney General Jesús José Solís Sliva and a local
maquiladora owner. De la Rosa believes that he angered the attorney general
when he spoke about the investigation of crimes against women in Cd. Juárez.
De la Rosa is also the lawyer for a group of Cd. Juárez maquiladora workers
and said that the owner of the facility has threatened him a number of

Local police officers seen in a car near where the men first tried to stop
de la Rosa did nothing to help him, de la Rosa said.

At one point during his career, de la Rosa was head of the prison where
Abdul Latif Sharif Sharif was being held. Sharif is a suspect in some of
the Cd. Juárez rape murders.

The Attorney General´s Office also maintains that Sharif used a cell phone
while in prison to organize gang members and bus drivers to rape and kill
women in his style so as to make it look like state police had arrested
the wrong person. However, while in Las Cruces in early 2002, de la Rosa
said that he was sure that Sharif could not have made the alleged calls.

Women´s Disappearances and Murders Linked

An article in the Cd. Juárez newspaper El Norte states that María Isabel
Mejía Sapién and Gloria Rivas Martínez, who both disappeared within three
months of each other, both worked for the same company with branches just
a block from the ECCO computer school which is mentioned in other rape
murder investigations.

Mejía and Rivas, between 15 and 16 years old, worked for the same store,
La Estrella, but at different branches. Mejía disappeared in May, 2002
and Rivas in October.
El Norte says that Rivas´ body was found in October but this has not been
confirmed. The newspaper also reported a rumor that Rivas was kidnapped
and held alive in a drug house for a few days on the western side of Cd.
Other employees of La Estrella say that they have been chased by people
upon leaving work.

While the La Estrella and ECCO cases may be the result of one or more people
stalking the area near the stores and school, ECCO´s Chihuahua City branch
is also allegedly related to some of the cases.

According to an article in El Diario, on April 6, 2002, at least two ECCO
employees are among the suspects in the Chihuahua City killing of
17-year-old Paloma Escobar. Escobar was reported missing at the beginning
of March, 2002.

An El Paso Times article, also from April, 2002, went on to look at ECCO
connections with murdered young women in Cd. Juárez.

Liliana Holguin de Santiago´s body was found in 2000. She was 15 at the
time of her death and attended ECCO. She also worked across the street
from ECCO on a part-time basis.

Lilia Alejandra García, 17, attended ECCO. She was abducted on February
14, 2001. Police said she was held alive for approximately two days before
she was murdered. She was abducted after leaving work.

Maria Acosta Ramírez, 19, worked at a Philips maquiladora and was last
seen on April 25, 2001 leaving ECCO. Her body was one of eight found in
a field in November, 2001.

Esmeralda Herrera Monreal, 15, had met with ECCO recruiters at her house
a few days before her death. She was one of eight young women found in
the cotton field in November, 2001.

Cd. Juárez women´s rights activists have pointed out to Frontera NorteSur
that Acosta´s, Holguin´s and Herrera´s cases have already been closed
because of the arrest of bus drivers Víctor Javier García Uribe and Gustavo
González Meza. How this affects the investigation of ECCO employees is

García and González have both repeatedly stated that they were tortured
and coerced into confessing to the murder of Acosta, Holguin, Herrera and
eight other women.

Earlier this year, El Diario reported that Oscar Maynez, the state police
evidence expert, resigned from the state police because he was asked to
fabricate evidence against the two men. Source: El Diario, December 12,

El Norte, December 10, 2002. Article by Rosa Isela Pérez.

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