Mexican official fired over bodies stored in truck says he’s a scapegoat

A truck leaves with an abandoned trailer full of bodies that has been parked in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Jalisco, Mexico, in this September 15, 2018 photo, in this still image taken from a video obtained September 17, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 September 2018
0

Mexican official fired over bodies stored in truck says he’s a scapegoat

  • 100 bodies were being kept in a separate refrigerated truck parked at the forensic institute
  • Mexico’s national human rights commission and its Jalisco branch on Tuesday called for a probe into the case

MEXICO CITY: Mexican authorities fired a forensic official on Tuesday after an outcry over the storage of some 150 bodies in a refrigerated container truck that roamed towns in Jalisco state, where morgues are filled with victims of the country’s drug war. Killings in the western state, home to one of Mexico’s most violent and powerful drug gangs, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, have already hit a record 16,339 so far this year, and the national homicide rate is rising having already hit its highest in modern history last year.
Accusations that authorities in Jalisco were mishandling bodies flared last week after the semi-trailer truck with 150 corpses was spotted in a warehouse on the outskirts of Mexico’s second largest city Guadalajara, drawing the ire of the mayor of the borough, who said it was illegally parked.
It then turned up next to houses in a field further from the city, where neighbors complained it emitted a powerful stench.
Jalisco state spokesman Gonzalez Sanchez told local radio that Luis Octavio Cotero, who had headed the forensic institute since 2015, was dismissed because he failed to take responsibility for storing the bodies.
Cotero told Reuters that his agency was not responsible for storing the unclaimed bodies, and accused the government of making him a scapegoat after he questioned the findings of an investigation into the disappearance of three film students earlier this year.
“It’s bad political conduct. I feel sorry for the institute,” Cotero said, adding that state officials knew they needed more morgue space as much as two years ago.
“Only now are they looking around ... It’s inefficacy that has put our state in such a sorry position,” he said.
Cotero said another 100 bodies were being kept in a separate refrigerated truck parked at the forensic institute, and that the other truck had been forced to move for lack of parking space.
The state’s spokesman said an investigation has begun to sort out “numerous versions” of who gave orders to move the containers.
Mexico’s national human rights commission and its Jalisco branch on Tuesday called for a probe into the case, describing the local government’s treatment of the cadavers as “inhumane.”
Work on a new facility to hold 700 bodies is underway, the state’s general secretary Roberto Lopez told local media last week.


Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury

Updated 20 October 2018
0

Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury

  • Once the spacecraft arrives in late 2025, it will release two probes that will independently investigate the planet

TOKYO: European and Japanese space agencies say an Ariane 5 rocket has successfully lifted a spacecraft into orbit for a joint mission to Mercury, the closest planet to the sun.
The European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency say the BepiColombo spacecraft successfully separated and was sent into orbit from French Guiana early Saturday to begin a seven-year journey to Mercury.
The mission is complicated by the intense gravity pull of the sun, forcing the spacecraft to take an elliptical path that involves two fly-bys of Venus and six of Mercury itself.
Once the spacecraft arrives in late 2025, it will release two probes that will independently investigate the surface and magnetic field of Mercury.