MEXICO CITY — Seven Mexican soldiers who were accused in the 2014 army killings of 22 drug cartel suspects but later freed have been re-arrested, a human rights group confirmed Thursday.
The newspaper El Universal reported Thursday that three of the seven are in custody at a Mexico City military prison and four are on a form of bail but report daily. The seven face abuse of authority charges, and three also are charged with altering evidence at a crime scene.
The Miguel Agustin Pro Human Rights Center, which represents a women whose daughter was killed in the massacre, confirmed the soldiers were re-arrested and said the case against them remains active.
The soldiers were detained in 2015 but were freed soon thereafter when a judge ruled the prosecution had not presented enough evidence. Relatives of two of the victims appealed the dismissal of the civilian criminal charges against the seven, three of whom had been serving sentences for military code violations.
In October 2019, a court ordered the soldiers re-arrested.
“These arrest warrants have gone unexecuted for 16 months,” the rights center said in a statement. “Today, it has been revealed that they have been carried out.”
The June 2014 massacre involved soldiers who killed 22 suspects at a grain warehouse in the town of Tlatlaya.
While some of the 22 died in an initial shootout with an army patrol — in which one soldier was wounded — a human rights investigation determined that at least eight and perhaps as many as a dozen suspects were executed after they surrendered.
Investigators found that survivors and witnesses had been threatened and tortured, while bodies were moved and weapons planted at the scene. Forensic evidence showed many of the dead had been lined up against walls and shot while raising their hands in instinctive acts of self-defense.