Seven Mexico state police officers were charged Wednesday with torturing three women who survived a confrontation last year in which several soldiers allegedly executed at least a dozen criminals after they surrendered, the Associated Press (AP) reported. The charges come a year after the so-called Tlatlaya massacre in June 2014.
According to a statement from the Attorney General's Office in Mexico State, four of the officers have been detained while arrest warrant is expected to be issued for the other three, the AP reported. In November, three soldiers were charged with aggravated homicide and four others charged with "actions improper to the public service" for failing to report the killings, considered as one of the most scandalous cases of human rights violations in Mexico. The victims in Tlatlaya, located 100 miles west of Mexico City, included 21 men and a 15-year-old girl who had reportedly surrendered to the soldiers before being killed.
The three women who survived the incident reportedly alleged that they had been tortured by the Mexico State prosecutor's office to support the army’s version of the case. The federal Commission for the Attention of Victims will reportedly pay about $3.2 million to the families of all 22 people killed in the incident, while the three women may receive payments from the state government.
Army leaders have claimed that the soldiers were patrolling the area on June 30, 2014, when they were attacked by local criminals, resulting in a deadly shootout. Forensics experts, however, found that the victims had been shot at close range with their own guns, suggesting a mass execution. The Mexican National Commission on Human Rights had also said that the crime scene was altered by government officials who participated in a cover-up.
Members of Mexico's Congress announced in April that the military massacre was “illegal, excessive, and a disproportionate use of force."
No charges were previously filed against investigators or prosecutor's agents accused of trying to cover up the case. The Mexico State prosecutor had reportedly said that about 20 officials were under investigation.