Sunday, March 22, 2009

Arrests made in case of Katya Miranda

Law enforcement authorities in El Salvador made arrests this weekend in the case of Katya Miranda. A year ago I described how Salvadoran bloggers and others had begun a campaign demanding justice in the 9 year old case which symbolized the problems of impunity in the country.

The facts of the case are heinous: 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.

Most believed that because of the positions of the suspects, the prosecution was abandoned by the attorney general's office for lack of proof in 2000. Subsequently, Katya's case was advocated by the Human Rights Institute at the University of Central America which pushed for resumption of the case.

Now Katya's grandfather and seven other men were arrested this weekend in connection with the notorious crime, just two weeks before the 10 year statute of limitations for the crime would have prevented any prosecution. They have been charged with kidnapping the child and also with planning to murder a witness to the crime. No one has yet been charged with the actual rape and murder of the little girl.

It's one step towards justice in a single case. But perhaps symbolic of a little stronger justice system and a little less impunity for the powerful and well-connected in El Salvador.

1 comment:

D. Mark Davis said...

I have often thought of how disastrous the effects of impunity are. Too many times, the disempowered in ES and around the world have been caught in a maze of slammed doors and avoidance of accountability when it comes to obtaining justice. Thank you for sharing this story and for rightly naming it as a small, but significant step for justice.