Grim but expected development in Brad Will case
On Friday, Mexican federal prosecutors announced that they had found the two men responsible for the murder of Brad Will, and arrested them. Bradley Roland Will was the Indymedia journalist who was shot and killed two years ago in Oaxaca while videotaping the demonstrations there.
The problem is, the prosecutors are likely accusing the wrong men. The guys they arrested -- who have been the singular focus of their investigation for much of the time since -- are leftist organizers. Will's supporters say it was government-backed gunmen who shot him, and they have witnesses, and a wealth of evidence, to back them up. Which makes a whole lot more sense.
Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (a governmental body, but with some independence) criticized the prosecutors' focus on the two men, saying that shortcomings in the official investigation "made it impossible to develop a proper hypothesis and find out what really happened."
The Human Rights Commission didn't say that they could prove who had killed Will, but that the prosecutor's investigation was deeply flawed.
The broader picture is that the Will case is a unique and perilous situation for the Mexican government. The NYT points out that "Although Mr. Will was one of 18 people killed during the protests, the federal government has dropped the investigations into every case except his."
They need to put someone in jail for the murder. But if the government-supported gunmen were ever deemed responsible for murdering an unarmed American journalist, it would be a significant jolt to U.S.-Mexico relations.
So far this week, there have been no statements from the US Representatives or Senators representing Will's Williamsburg home or his childhood town outside Chicago (though several members, including Durbin, have previously spoken about the case).
Condoleezza Rice will be in Mexico this week; it will be interesting to see if she brings up anything.