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Another campesino environmentalist murdered
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OAS human rights body demands government to investigate crime.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemned the murder of Javier Torres Paz, a member of the Organization of Campesino Environmentalists of the Sierra de Petatlán and Coyuca de Catalán in the western Guerrero state in Mexico.

Torres Cruz, 30, was gunned down April 18 near his village La Morena in Petatlán municipality. His brother was seriously wounded.

Torres Cruz had been receiving death threats since 2007 and on Dec. 3, 2008, he was illegally detained by soldiers and later tortured for several days, a crime he reported to the Guerrero State Human Rights Defense Committee and the Attorney General´s Office.

According to the human rights nongovernmental organization Committee Cerezo, Torres Cruz was a victim of drug trafficker Rogaciano Alva Álvarez, because the environmentalist was one of the witnesses of the 2001 killing of human rights activist Digna Ochoa, which Alva Álvarez´s alleged hit men have been involved in, a case that still hasn´t been resolved. The group says Torres Cruz and his relatives had been threatened six times since 2009.

The most serious attack took place in February, when Mexican soldiers opened fire on villagers working in a field in La Morena, killing Torres Cruz´s cousin, Adolfo Torres Rosas, and wounding another, Isaías Torres Rosas, according to the Committee Cerezo. Their grandfather, Anselmo Torrez Quiroz, and another friend, Húber Vega Correa, were arbitrarily detained. These two men are still detained in Acapulco on what have been called trumped up charges of health safety violations.

Last December, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights condemned the Mexican government for the cases of other leaders of the same environmental group, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, who were detained in 1999 and 2002, respectively, on fabricated charges.

Montiel, Cabrera and Felipe Arreaga — who was also unjustly detained for almost a year in 2004 and who died in a suspicious automobile accident in 2009 — founded the organization in 1998 to fight the expansive logging industry in Sierra de Petatlán. Montiel was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2000 for his work, and Arreaga was given the Chico Mendes Prize in 2005 by the Sierra Club.
—Latinamerica Press.

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