Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Activist in women of Juarez cases slain in Mexico

By OLIVIA TORRES, Associated Press Jan. 12, 2011

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – A poet who led protests against the unsolved
killings of women in the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez has herself
become the victim of a bizarre slaying, her body found strangled and her
left hand severed after a night of partying with three teens.

The body of Susana Chavez, 36, was left last week in the center of the
city but was not identified until Tuesday, authorities said Wednesday. Her
head was covered with a bag, and the cause of death was strangulation.

Three suspects, all 17, are in custody, including a neighbor, who told
investigators that they had gotten into an argument with Chavez. Because
they were intoxicated, they found it "easy" to kill her, said Arturo
Sandoval, a spokesman for the Attorney General of the Northern Zone of

The teens decided to cut off her hand to make it look as if her death were
linked to organized crime, Sandoval said.

The city across from El Paso, Texas, has been plagued by rampant drug
violence, setting a record of more than 3,000 killings in 2010.

The killing was the result of an "unfortunate encounter" and had nothing
to do with Chavez's activism, said Chihuahua state Attorney General Carlos
Manuel Salas in an interview with the Televisa network.

Chavez, a prominent writer and activist, helped popularize the slogan "Not
One More Death" to bring attention to the killings of hundreds of Juarez
women, who were raped, strangled and dumped in the desert over a decade,
starting in 1993.

She had been active with May Our Daughters Return Home, an organization
comprised of family members and friends of the slain women.

She is the second Juarez anti-crime activist killed in less than a month.
Gunmen shot Marisela Escobedo Ortiz as she protested in front of a
governor's office in the state capital of Chihuahua in December to demand
justice for dead daughter, whose suspected killer was an ex-boyfriend
freed by a panel of judges for lack of evidence.

Lawmakers in the Mexican state of Chihuahua on Tuesday voted unanimously
to impeach the three judges who freed the main suspect in Ortiz's death.

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