IN BROAD DAYLIGHT: Moments before Brad Will was shot and killed October 27, 2006 in Santa Lucia del Camino, Oaxaca, Mexico, several local officials were filmed and photographed firing in the direction of Brad and anti-government protesters. (From left to right) Juan Carlos Soriano Velasco, a municipal police officer, town official Orlando Manuel Aguilar Coello and Abel Santiago Zarate, a member of the state government. Aguilar Coello and Zarate were both briefly detained after Brad’s death but were soon released when Oaxacan authorities mistakenly asserted that the two bullets that killed Brad did not come from a .38 revolver like the ones that both men were using that day. PHOTO: RAUL ESTRELLA/EL UNIVERSAL
Activists picketed outside of the Mexican consulate in midtown Manhattan July 13 to call for the immediate release of Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno from prison.
Moreno, who tried to assist Will after he was shot by local police officers, was a political activist from Oaxaca fighting to over throw Oaxaca Governor Ulises Ruiz. Groups in attendance included Friends of Brad Will, New York City Latin American Workers Solidarity Coalition and Plan Colombia Action Group.
The crowd of no more than 20 people shouted “Brad Will presente,” and “Manuel Moreno presente,” while handing out fliers to passersby in an effort to elicit a response to Judge Perez’s ruling.
“As a friend I have been sickened, as his family has been sickened, by the ways in which Brad’s murder has been used by the Mexican government to further brutalize, intimidate and imprison the very people with whom Brad stood in solidarity in 2006,” said Mark Read, a film Professor at NYU, who was a friend of Will’s and one of the organizers of the demonstration.
The Mexican government is facing pressure from the U.S. to reduce funding of The Mérida Initiative, a shared effort to battle organized crime and drug trafficking, unless a conviction is made in Will’s murder.
“If they want those U.S. taxpayer dollars they have to put somebody away, but the real killers walk around with impunity, while the government proceeds with this bogus case,” Read said.
Judge Rosa Perez’s ruling last Wednesday reversed her January decision that the testimony used against Moreno made his detention unconstitutional. Perez has now accepted the exact same testimony as factual evidence.
“That Brad’s murder is being used to railroad a fellow political activist is the most profound of insults to Brad’s memory,” said Read.
For previous coverage by The Indypendent of the Brad Will murder investigation, click here.