MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission said Thursday that marines illegally detained, beat and executed four people who were doing farm work near a government fuel pipeline in 2019.
And in another case, the governmental commission said soldiers illegally detained and tortured three teenagers they believed were kidnapping suspects in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez in 2009, and killed one boy, and raped and released another.
The governmental commission said the pipeline killings took place in February 2019, in an area just east of Mexico City that is known for fuel thefts. State-owned pipelines in Mexico are plagued by thieves who frequently drill illegal taps into the ducts.
Marines and soldiers were massively deployed in 2019 to guard the pipelines. The pipelines often run through fields and look-outs for the thieves frequently pose as farm workers.
The commission said evidence indicates a marine patrol stripped and beat men who were gathering forage, then took them to a remote area and killed them. Their bodies were found days later.
The commission recommended the marines be investigated and prosecuted, and the victim's relatives be compensated.
The Navy said in a statement in 2019 that the marines had found the men stealing fuel, but acknowledged the marines appear to have “acted against legal procedures” and “committed acts that violated their duty.” The navy said at the time that the marines involved had been made available to prosecutors.
The Navy said Thursday it would comply with the commission's recommendations.
In the 2009 case, witnesses said 45 or 50 soldiers pulled up in several trucks and took two boys away. A third teenager was also illegally detained. They were tortured with beatings and near-asphyxiation till one appeared to be dying and was finished off with a gunshot to the head. His body was dumped in the desert and prosecutors allegedly failed to identify his remains or advise his family.
The other boy was raped by a soldier who held a gun to his head and released. The third youth was turned over to prosecutors.
The Defense Department did not immediately respond to the accusations.