MEXICO CITY (AP) — An anti-crime organization is offering legal defense to a soldier accused of executing a suspected fuel thief — a sign of support for the military's controversial role in attacking Mexico's crime wave.
Lawyer Alejandro Robledo said Thursday that Mexico SOS wants a fair trial for a soldier shown in a widely distributed video appearing to shoot a suspect who's face-down on the ground.
"What we want is for the soldier to have a just, legal process and not a lynching," Robledo said on Radio Formula. "The Mexican army is the one that defends the rule of law and we're ready to defend the Mexican army in this case."
Robledo said Thursday that he had not spoken to army officials yet about the offer of free legal defense, but that he planned to reach out to the soldier and his superiors.
Human rights organizations say the video shows why soldiers shouldn't be policing and presents complications for passage of a new interior security law under debate that would formalize the military's role. But many Mexicans are desperate about crime and polls show they're not worried about alleged military human rights abuses.
Mexico's National Human Rights Commission determined that soldiers executed at least 12 suspects after they surrendered on June 30, 2014, in the town of Tlatlaya in Mexico State. But many argued the soldiers were just doing their jobs.
Last year, Isabel Miranda de Wallace, leader of a group called Stop Kidnapping, proposed the creation of an ombudsman to defend security forces blamed for doing their jobs.
Robledo represents Alejandro Marti, who founded Mexico SOS after the kidnapping- murder of his 14-year-old son in 2008.
On Wednesday, Marti first made the offer through his Twitter account. And one day earlier, he tweeted: "It is irritating that the criminals, gangs and cartels have all the human rights protections" while soldiers, marines and police are on their own.
No charges have been announced over the May 3 clash in Puebla state.