Police official in Mexico faces murder charge Human rights leader was killed in 1990

September 28, 1991|By John M. McClintock | John M. McClintock,Mexico City Bureau of The Sun

MEXICO CITY -- A top federal police commander was charged yesterday in the 1990 slaying of a human rights leader that aroused international outrage.

Mario Alberto Gonzalez Trevino, who is charged with murder was accused of ordering the killing of Norma Corona Sapien as head of the Federal Judicial Police, which is similar to the FBI, in the western state of Sinaloa.

Ms. Corona, who was head of the Sinaloa human right commission, apparently had evidence implicating the Federal Judicial Police in the kidnapping and killing of three Venezuelans and their Mexican lawyer. She was gunned down in Culiacan, the state capital, and her files were taken.

Ms. Corona's death was a major factor in prompting Presiden Carlos Salinas de Gortari to establish the National Human Rights Commission, an ombudsmanlike agency that looks into cases of official abuse.

Ms. Corona's death was the commission's first case, but it was not until this week that witnesses implicated Commander Gonzalez, who has been reassigned to Acapulco.

The National Human Rights Commission's report on the Coron case alleged that Commander Gonzalez went to great lengths to hide the federal police role in her death.

The report alleged that the commander used torture an kidnappings to force confessions implicating drug dealers in the slaying and that the police official received a $1 million bribe to free the sister of a drug dealer he sought to implicate.

When a Sinaloa police captain began to uncover evidence tha the federal police were involved in a connected case, he was mysteriously gunned down, the report said.

The Corona case has been cited by Americas Watch an Amnesty International as an example of the impunity enjoyed by Mexican law enforcement officials.

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