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Mexico: Campaign to discredit the work of human rights defender Ms Lucha Castro
Various media outlets in Mexico have published statements made by a number of government officials between 9 and 12 October 2012 aimed at discrediting the work of lawyer and human rights defender Ms Luz (Lucha) Estela Castro Rodriguez.
Lucha Castro is the Coordinator of the Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres A C.- CEDEHM (Centre for Women's Rights), a non-governmental organisation, based in the city of Chihuahua, which promotes and protects the rights of women and offers legal and psychological support to women victims of violence. Lucha Castro was nominated for the 2010 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.
Between 9 and 12 October 2012, statements made by a number of public officials, including: Governor of Chihuahua Mr Cesar Duarte, Secretary of Government Mr Raymundo Romero, State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Carlos Manuel Salas, amongst others, against Lucha Castro were published in the media. In one statement the Director of Public Prosecutions claimed that it is a shame that “the supposed human rights defender defends the murderers of Marisela, two journalists and 14 others persons”. The comments follow calls by CEDEHM for transparency in the investigation into the December 2010 killing of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, member of Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa (May Our Daughters Return Home), and mother of Rubi Marisol Frayre Escobedo, who was murdered in August 2008.
On 16 December 2010, Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was holding a peaceful vigil, calling for the detention of her daughter's killer who had been sentenced to 50 years in prison but who was evading detention, outside the Chihuahua State Governor's Office. A security video recording showed a car arrive at the scene and one man approaching the human rights defender. She attempted to get away but the man followed her and shot her in the head. He immediately fled the scene. Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was taken to a local hospital but died shortly afterwards as a result of her injuries.
On 8 October 2012, CEDEHM issued a press release calling for transparency in the investigations into the killing of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz. On 15 December 2011 the Office of the Public Prosecutor identified a material author of the crime and the weapon used. However on 7 October 2012 they presented a different perpetrator and yet in both cases they claim to have to have forensic evidence and consider each individual to be responsible for the killing.
Manuel Salas also accused Lucha Castro of manipulating Mr Juan Manuel Frayre Escobedo, son of Marisela Escobedo Ortiz, and spokesperson for her family.