Tuesday, February 21, 2006

PDDH Censures Judge in Soto case

Following Saturday's verdict which convicted only one person of the Gilberto Soto murder, El Salvador's human rights ombudswoman, Beatrice de Carrillo was highly critical of the presiding judge. Diario CoLatino reported that the PDDH issued a public censure against the judge for blocking access to the investigative material in the case and not pursuing the theory that Soto was murdered for his union activities. The public censure is the highest form of sanction the office of the PDDH can issue and has only been issued twice before by Carrillo.

In the US, officials of the Teamsters union were highly critical of the investigation and prosecution. As quoted on North Jersey.com:

The Teamsters Union called for a new investigation Monday into the 2004 murder of a Cliffside Park labor leader in El Salvador after a jury there acquitted two of three people charged in his death.

The verdict, reached Saturday, bolsters claims that Teamster Gilberto Soto was killed not in a domestic dispute but for trying to organize port drivers, union officials said.

"We feared all along that [the trial] was part of a coverup," said Ron Carver, Soto's friend and supervisor at the Teamsters' Port Division. "We never claimed to know who it was. What we did know was the government was rushing to judgment. We think this [the verdict] shows that."

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