Violations of due process, and the acts of torture that he would have suffered in his detention and throughout his internment in various federal prisons, are the foundations that underpin the route so that Mario Aburto Martinez get your freedom, reversing his sentence of 45 years in prison for the murder of Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta, PRI presidential candidate in 1994.
With deteriorated health that places him as a vulnerable person, according to his defense, Aburto Martínez, 52, hopes to leave behind the 28 years that he has lived in prison up to now, after two protections that -in together- seek to be recognized as one more victim of the innumerable irregularities committed in the investigation of the Colosio assassination.
“If these violations lead to freedom, then of course that is what we are looking for”, said in an interview with HIGH LEVEL Salvador Leyva, technical secretary for Combating Torture of the Federal Institute of Public Defenders (IFDP), an organization that is part of the Federal Judicial Council.
Leyva directs the team of public defenders who, since March of this year, promoted an indirect amparo in favor of Mario Aburto in a federal court in Mexico City, in which the delay and lack of due diligence in the investigation are claimed of the acts of torture denounced by the prisoner since March 1994.
This trial goes hand in hand with another amparo, filed in 2021 in a Collegiate Court of the State of Mexico, which seeks to modify the conviction that found him responsible. of the crimes of qualified homicide with premeditation and treachery, and possession of a firearm without a license, in the events that occurred in the Lomas Taurinas neighborhood, in Tijuana, on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 23, 1994.
Colosio Murrieta, 44 years old that year, was deprived of his life after receiving two shots, one of them to the head, when -as the presidential standard-bearer of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)- a campaign rally had concluded. .
The crime against Luis Donaldo Colosio left his two children, then 1 and 8 years old, orphaned. The eldest of his offspring, Luis Donaldo Colosio Riojas, today he is mayor of Monterrey.
Prior to sentencing, Aburto repeatedly confessed to having committed the murder, although the versions of the reasons why he would have activated the weapon were changed several times by the detainee himself.
The recognition of the crime is just one of the elements that is sought to be excluded, as soon as the torture that he claims to have suffered is proven.: the important thing is that “evidence obtained under torture should be excluded, such as accusations, confessions, testimonies, among other evidence that could have derived from the acts of torture committed against Mario,” details Salvador Leyva.
In the direct amparo against his sentence, filed in the First Collegiate Court in Criminal Matters of the State of Mexico, torture investigation is used “for this purpose, which is to exclude evidence”.
While in the indirect amparo, processed in the Second District Court of Amparo in Criminal Matters of Mexico City, “what we are looking for is that the crime of torture be criminally prosecuted, and that the responsibility of those who could have committed these acts”, adds the lawyer.
Due to the characteristics of this case, in whose investigation all the evidence was compromised for the dozens of irregularities committed by the former Attorney General of the Republic, doubts persist as to whether the murder of Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta was committed by Mario Aburto alone, and at the same time, the question prevails regarding the magnitude of the coercion that he allegedly received to incriminate himself.
In this regard, Rubén Aburto Cortés, the father of the sentenced man, sick with his respiratory tract, reiterated his conviction of his son’s innocence by telephone from California, in the United States. “Well, all I know is that my son is innocent, and he is a scapegoat for that government at that time,” he said.
One of the arguments presented in the amparo proceedings in favor of Mario Aburto is that the confessions made by the prisoner would be conditioned by torture, threats, and presumed cruel and inhuman treatment, although this has not yet been conclusively proven.
However, and although he is unaware of the legal efforts that the federal public defender’s office has undertaken in favor of Mario, his father maintains the same version that he has told the press since 1994.
“My son was sentenced to 45 years, they don’t have conclusive evidence, they don’t have evidence, I want to know, I want to see the video, the video they have, well, see what the face of the person who is shooting there is Colosio”, reiterated Rubén Aburto Cortés.
Although up to now there is no film evidence that shows the face of the person who shot Luis Donaldo Colosio in the head, and it is not known for sure if there was a second shooter who wounded the candidate in the abdomen, the bet of the lawyers of Aburto Martínez is to demonstrate that due process was violated.
“When there are cases as riddled with irregularities as this one could be, among hundreds, if not thousands of other cases, what we as a public defender seek is to ensure that due process is respected, if torture occurred, if the culprits were fabricated, if there was coercion, then that implies that due process was no longer respected,” explains Salvador Leyva.
According to the IFDP technical secretary for Combating Torture, if the videos and written documents -in which Mario Aburto acknowledges the homicide- were obtained through torture, “and if the judge considers it so, then he will have to exclude them (as evidence) and may not take them into account when issuing a sentence.”
What is intended to be obtained, at least, is the reinstatement of the procedure, which would imply a new trial for the assassination, in which part of the probative material is suppressed.
“What we are doing is just for this purpose of taking care that due process is respected, is to put before the judge, the elements that could cause this type of statement to be excluded,” argues Leyva.
In contrast, the Special Investigation and Litigation Team for the Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta case of the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) ensures that Aburto Martínez was not tortured after his arrest, and during the criminal proceedings in which he was sentenced, as reported by the agent of the Public Ministry Jesús Salvador Amaro Ramírez before the Second District Court of Amparo in Criminal Matters of Mexico City.
Amaro Ramírez is in charge of the new investigations into the Colosio case, after the FGR formed, on April 4, the Special Investigation and Litigation Team to resume the investigations into the homicide of the PRI presidential candidate.
Nevertheless, Judge Antonio González García has already ordered the FGR, since August of this yearwhich proves the absence of torture that Aburto alleges and is denied by the Prosecutor’s Office, since in this type of acts, of an omission nature, the burden of proof to demonstrate the refusal of the claimed act falls on the authority designated as responsible.
This means that, given that the FGR is being sued under amparo that it has not investigated the torture that Mario Aburto would have suffered, it is this same agency that must demonstrate that -in effect- it has investigated the facts, and in its case provide the results of the investigation with the evidence that concludes that the sentenced person was not subject to cruel and inhuman treatment.
In short, although it may seem like a paradox, based on Mario Aburto’s claims, a new explanation of the crime in which Luis Donaldo Colosio Murrieta was deprived of his life could be feasible, a challenge that in the end the courts in charge of grant or deny, to a sentenced for homicide, the protection and protection of federal justice.
surya palaces Journalist and lawyer, specialist in legal analysis and human rights. She has been a reporter, radio host and editor.