Campesino remains exhumed from clandestine grave

April 25, 2013 Trujillo, Colón.
The remains of a peasant farmer who had been disappeared since April 2012, were exhumed this Thursday by members  of the Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala and national forensic medical examiners, from a clandestine grave discovered in the Paso Aguán farm in the Panamá community, municipality of Trujillo, Colón.

The exhumation process of human bones found in the Paso Aguán farm began early on Thursday morning with the presence of several campesino organizations, human rights organizations, judicial authorities and security officers of the zone.

On April 3rd, the United Peasant Movement of the Aguán (MUCA) denounced that the human remains of a person buried on the Paso Aguán farm had been found.

Since this date, residents cordoned off the area and established permanent surveillance for over 20 days to assure that the area of the finding was not disturbed and that evidence was not manipulated.

The Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH), the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights, MUCA and the family members of at least five disappeared persons, presented the request for exhumation.

The exhumation was carried out by two experts from the Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala and Honduran forensic medical examiners.

The Guatemalan experts, Alma Nidia Vásquez, anthropologist, and  Leonel Paiz, archeologist, were sworn in by Judge Camilo Peralta of Trujillo in order to carry out the exhumation.

Family members of the peasant farmer José Antonio López Lara, who disappeared on April  29, 2012, were present at the exhumation site to verify if the grave belonged to their family member.

Based on items found in the grave, the wife and children of  López  indicated that in fact the body was that of their family member.

Saudi López Gutiérrez, daugther of López Lara, explained that her father disappeared while fishing in the lagoon located in the Paso Aguán farm, which at the time was guarded by some 30 private security guards of the businessman Miguel Facussé.

The daughter assured that farmers who were harvesting corn close by the exhumation site, had heard four detonations from a firearm.

The human bones found at the site, which is presumed to be a clandestine cemetery, is located on lot 3 of the farm.

The professionals from the Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala authorized to carry out the exhumation announced that following the extraction of the human bones, they will proceed with the identification process based on physical characteristics and DNA samples provided by family members.

Prior to their return to Guatemala next Saturday, the forensic experts will provide a preliminary report to the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights and to COFADEH, as the human rights organization that denounced the existence of the clandestine cemetery and carried out the required protocols before state authorities.

*Members of the PROAH team are accompanying this process. 

Link to original article in Spanish