Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blogging for justice in a little girl's murder

Bloggers in El Salvador have taken up the cause of justice in the nine year old murder case of Katya Miranda. This young girl was murdered in 1999 in a crime of shocking depravity.

The facts of the case are recounted in a video interview of Katya's mother and available on YouTube. Katya's mother left her two daughters at the home of her paternal grandfather along El Salvador's coast with a promise to pick them up in the morning. Yet when morning came, nine-year-old Katya was dead -- raped, beaten and murdered. Despite the presence of members of her father's family and their employees at the home, nobody claimed to have seen or heard anything. The father, grandfather and other male relatives are high-ranking officials in El Salvador's military and the National Civilian Police.

Many believe that the investigation of the crime was haphazard and incomplete, but eventually Katya's father, grandfather and two employees were charged with the crime in 2000. However all the charges against them were subsequently dismissed in legal proceedings widely criticized by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and the Human Rights Institute at the University of Central America in San Salvador. The current attorney general has indicated no interest in reopening the case.

With the ninth anniversary of Katya's murder, Salvadoran bloggers are raising a call for justice to be done in this case. The symbol of their campaign is the logo at the top of this post.

Carlos Abrego at Cosas Tan Pasajeras [es] urged readers to participate in the organized campaign which includes signing an online petition, to take a photo of the campaign logo at locations across the world which will be added to a photo CD to be delivered to the attorney general, and to participate in a "Day of Roses" march to commemorate the little girl.

The blog Salvadoreños en el Mundo [es] carried a letter to Katya written by her mother to commemorate this anniversary. Ixquic* [es], a single mother and human rights lawyer who has written about Katya's case many times, displayed a tiny angel made of seashells found on the beach where Katya's small body was found.

Ernesto Rivas-Gallont urged readers to sign the petition and expressed the outrage of many [es], when he wrote:

¡Qué espanto! ¿Qué se puede decir de una sociedad donde existan individuos capaces de perpetrar crímenes de esta magnitud? El caso de Katya ha tomado relevancia por el cinismo de los asesinos y por su prominencia y por la prominencia de la institución a la cual pertenecen. Pero monstruos como ellos abundan en este país.

No es raro leer en nuestra prensa o escuchar en los noticieros, de padres que violan a sus hijas y, aunque no con la misma frecuencia, de padres que asesinan a sus hijos.

¿Cómo nos verán desde afuera? ¿Qué informarán los embajadores de países amigos a sus cancillerías?

What horror! What can one say about a society where individuals exist capable of perpetrating crimes of this magnitude? The case of Katya has taken relevance for the cynicism of the murderers and their prominence and for the prominence of the institution to which they belong. But monsters like them abound in this country.

It is not rare to read in our press or to hear in the news, of fathers who rape their daughters and, although not with the same frequency, of fathers who murder their children.

How will they see us from outside? What will the ambassadors of friendly countries report to their ministries?


Victor at Alta Hora de la Noche [es] wrote on his blog a personal reflection of his own fortune having a father and family who protected him during the years of El Salvador's civil war. Katya's violation at the hands of male relatives demands justice:
Que se pida que se haga justicia va mas allá de cualquier discursito barato de que lo social va a ser prioritario de acá en adelante.... Antes de pensar en esas supuestas reformas hay que limpiar lo sucio que hay en los rincones de nuestra patria. Y que se omita hacer justicia en el caso de una niña violada y asesinada, asi como se omite hacer justicia con muchos otros casos de niñas y niños violentados física y sexualmente es una enorme mancha que va a seguir empañando nuestra sociedad y en especial a quienes hemos delegado la facultad de hacer valer la justicia.

To ask for justice is done goes beyond any cheap little talk that the social good will be a priority from here onwards... Before one thinks of reforms, one must clean up the filth in the corners of our country. And failing to do justice in the case of a girl raped and murdered, as there has been a failure of justice in many other cases of children physically and sexually abused is a huge stain that will continue tarnishing our society and especially those to whom we have delegated the authority to enforce justice.

The time for justice in Katya's case is fast expiring as the ten year statue of limitations expires in 2009. To remind readers of the urgency, Salvadoran blogger Hunnapuh [es]added a countdown timer which counts down the time within which new legal proceedings must be taken.

Originally posted at Global Voices Online.

7 comments:

Bosque said...

When is El Sal going to do something about its sorry justice system?

The sign of a civilized society is in how it treats its elderly and its children.

A lack of justice is what causes "insurgencies".

HODAD26 said...

soon Bro
all need to see "The End Game' Alex Jones on 'you tube'
crazy but real

when Funes gets in, things will hopefully change

as was said, the next to last 'dominoe'
Viva El Frente
HEMP for salvations and....
AT and Sustainable Systems

forum soon and for contact
www.elfrenteverde.org

El-Visitador said...

«A lack of justice is what causes "insurgencies"»

Agreed. However, there is not much outcry amongst Salvadoreans for improvements to the Justice system: cops, detectives, forensics, public prosecutors, judges, jails.

Instead, people ask for subsidies, lower food prices, lower credit card rates, lower phone prices, cheaper electricity, etc.

It is very, very rare to see Salvadoreans marching for more judgeships or for increasing the pathetically low number of cops we have.

As a result, politicians hardly ever even bother to promise fixes to the judicial system. Instead, they promise all kinds of government handouts, controls, subsidies, etc.

Can we really blame the politicians? They just peddle the stuff that sells votes, and revamping the whole Justice system does not seem to be a winning elections strategy.


- * -


Look even at the "online petition".

Do the organizers call for real reform to the Public prosecutor office, such as making him directly electable by voters? - NO

Does it call for improved forensics which (presumably) would have led to the crime being solved almost immediately? - NO

Does it call for reforms to the double-jeopardy statute in exceptional cases such as this (a bad idea, by the way, but obviously necessary from the point of view of the petition organizers) - NO

All the petition does is whine and complain (about politically convenient targets, by the way [!!!] ), but there are no calls for any substantive reform which might prevent future sad cases such as K Miranda

Anonymous said...

"A lack of justice is what causes "insurgencies".

What an ignorant statement.
And El Visitador?-backing that up baffles me but assures me where you are on the political radar.

A lack of justice, was defined and will always define El Salvador "Impunidad" by Cristiani passing the Amnesty law in 1992, shortly after Forensics dug up over 132 children under 12 at EL MOZOTE in the convent.-directly caused by BATALLON ATLACATL in '81.
LEARN and BURN.

Radical Catholic Mom said...

Interesting, comment, El visitador. My guess is when people are hungry they have other issues other than the justice system. Hunger is pretty distracting.

El-Visitador said...

« My guess is when people are hungry they have other issues other than the justice system. Hunger is pretty distracting.»

When people live in a system where prompt justice is available to all, productivity increases and people are generally able to fend for themselves.

Without justice, it becomes very problematic for the economy to improve. For instance, right now I have a chance to buy a plot of land in a very poor and neglected part of the country. I am hesitant to buy, however, because:

1. Since I live in a city, I would be an absentee owner. What recourse would I have against looters of trees or wildlife?

2. If I decide to plant and create desperately needed jobs, will I be murdered while taking the biweekly pay to the employees?

So far, it is looking as if the lands offered to me will remain fallow, improductive. And yet I know first hand how desperate the people in the surroundings are for jobs, and how they would welcome the chance to tender to the land.

Anonymous said...

i'm so glad they found most of them.

i actually am a family friend of hilda and gina. they were so relived when they got the phone call.