Agency condemns murder of Mexican human rights lawyer

 There has been an outcry following the murder of one of Mexico's most prominent human rights lawyers. Digna Ochoa was shot to death in her office in Mexico City on 18 October. She had worked for many years at the Jesuit Human Rights Centre, the PRODH, in Mexico City. Among her best-known clients were Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, two anti-logging activists from the State of Guerrero jailed since May 1999 and considered by Amnesty International to be "prisoners of conscience". Found next to her body was an unsigned note addressed to her former colleagues: "Keep carrying on and the same will happen to several of you. You've been warned, you'll have no excuse." Often threatened with death, in 1999 she was kidnapped for four hours and beaten. Two months later, she was kidnapped a second time, held in her own home for nine hours, blindfolded, tied up and harshly interrogated about her colleagues and clients and their possible connections with guerrilla groups. None of her assailants was ever arrested. CAFOD partner Sergio Cobo SJ, currently in London as part of the agency's Trade Justice Campaign, called her killing "an ominous sign" that immunity from prosecution continues to undermine justice in Mexico, despite the government's promises of reform. Cobo said, "Digna Ochoa will be remembered as a fearless defender of anyone suffering from injustice: activists, street kids, political prisoners, people without money, Zapatistas. Her killers must be brought to justice." Her high-profile cases often caught international attention, especially when her clients accused Mexico's military and security services of torturing them. In response to her murder and the renewed threats, CAFOD is calling for full guarantees from the government of Mexico, so that all those who defend human rights can do their work according to the international obligations to which Mexico is a signatory. source: CAFOD

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