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Mother of Kidnapping Victim Helps Other Victims Seek Justice

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By Karla Ortiz

Between 2012 and 2017, San Miguel de Allende saw one of the highest kidnapping rates in the state, according to the Stop Kidnapping Association.

According to the association’s statistics, from September 2012 to December 2017, during former Guanajuato governor Miguel Márquez Márquez’s administration, there were a total of 97 kidnappings statewide. San Miguel had a total of six kidnappings during this period. Guanajuato has 46 municipalities.

In our last issue, the case of Rosario Lanten illustrated the stark difficulties victims of kidnapping or other crimes can face when filing a report. Lanten says she was treated poorly by authorities at the Procuraduría General de la República (Attorney General’s Office), known as the PGR, when she reported the disappearance of her daughter. She says that she had to seek help on her own.

We offered the PGR an opportunity to respond to this article, but officials sent us incomplete information and declined to be interviewed.

Nongovernmental organizations stepped in to assist Lanten in finding her daughter. To help others facing a similar situation, Lanten now wants to share with the readers of Atención information about the rights that victims of kidnapping or family members searching for their loved ones have when filing a complaint with the PGR. Unfortunately, she says, many do not exercise these rights.

According to Lanten, these rights include the right to:

1) Receive legal advice and be informed of one’s Constitutional rights, and, upon request, to be informed of the progression of criminal proceedings.

2) Receive all data or evidence at the PGR’s disposal.

3) Receive emergency medical and psychological care in response to the crime committed against them.

4) In cases where it’s appropriate, have the PGR request damage reparations for the victim, without prejudice to the fact that the victim or injured party can request it directly.

5) Protection of the victim’s identity and other personal data when the case involves minors or the crimes of rape, human trafficking, kidnapping, organized crime; or when, in the the presiding judge’s opinion, it is necessary for the victim’s protection—while safeguarding in all instances the rights of the defendant.

6) Request necessary precautions for the protection and restitution of the victim’s rights.

7) Challenge before a judicial authority any omissions by the District Attorney in investigating a crime, including decisions to postpone, dismiss, or discontinue criminal proceedings when the plaintiff is not satisfied with the redress obtained.

On May 1, 2009, the Unidades Especializadas en Combate al Secuestro (Specialized Unit to Combat Kidnapping), known as UECS, was created, a department attached to the Subprocuraduría de Investigación Especializada de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado (State Assistant Attorney General for Specialized Investigations). Its functions are to:

I. Investigate criminal conduct that, by its nature, falls into its jurisdiction.

II. Bring criminal charges before the corresponding jurisdictional authority once the legal requirements for prosecution have been met.

III. Act in accordance with the guiding principles of the institution, as well as with all applicable regulations.

IV. Guarantee that the treatment of those who are likely to be responsible respects the rights legally enshrined on their behalf.

V. Follow up, supervise, and, if necessary, intervene in the phases of the procedure subsequent to the preliminary investigation, in accordance with all corresponding laws, using legal instruments that allow for the institutional interest of obtaining justice.

VI. Represent and advise the victim or injured party, as well as implement protective measures pertinent to the safeguarding of their assets and rights.

VII. Implement any other applicable rights deriving from Mexican Organic Law with respect to the PGR and its regulations and with respect to police, ministerial, and expert personnel, as appropriate, which is part of the State PGR.

 

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