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HomeAbout NBHRNHuman RightsInternational investigation into death of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos

International investigation into death of Filiberto Ojeda Ríos

Attorney Luis Abreu Elías, who represented Ojeda Ríos in the past, asked international organisms to investigate the assassination.

By Inter News Service
February 2, 2012

Attorney Luis Abreu Elías, who represented the deceased Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, member of the Boricua Popular Army–The Macheteros, today accused the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of having allowed a sharpshooter agent to shoot the Puerto Rican independentista leader at a time when he represented absolutely no threat.

According to Abreu Elías, Ojeda Ríos, after presumably having attended the activities of the Grito de Lares on September 23, 2005, arrived at his home in the neighborhood of Jaguitas, in Hormigueros, and on being surrounded by federal authorities, was apparently playing his trumpet when he was felled.

As a result of these facts, the attorney asked for an investigation independent of the governments of Puerto Rico and the United States.

“There was an agent who knew Spanish there, who was supposedly a negotiator, as was (police officer José Luis) Caldero previously in Puerto Rico, and he is the one who spoke with Filiberto Ojeda Ríos,” said Abreu Elías.

On this matter, he said that conversation lasted about an hour, from 4:28 to 5:28 p.m., and Ojeda Ríos was shot around 6:28 p.m., according to the FBI, but it must have been around 7:28 p.m., according to experts.

Abreu Elías asked that, given the irregularities in the case, an international organism such as the International Court in the Hague or a civil rights commission of the United States — comprised of people other than those who are currently in place in that governmental institution —, investigate the death of this Puerto Rican.

The investigation of the Civil Rights Commission of Puerto Rico (CDC by its Spanish initials) arrived at a conclusion, in a 238 page document, that the operation conducted by the FBI in Hormigueros was characterized by the excessive and abusive use of force.

In the same way, investigators from the CDC concluded that the FBI had other alternatives to conduct the arrest and, very probably, would have avoided the tragic unfolding of events.

He pointed out that the CDC affirmed in its report that the operation began with a violent attack on Ojeda’s home by use of a specialized paramilitary unit and the use of powerful M4 carbines, similar to those used by the United States armed forces.

The report indicates that even though the FBI claims that Mr. Ojeda Ríos shot first, an examination of the chronology of events, taken from the reports of investigations and witness statements, clearly demonstrates that the first armed offensive acts were taken by the FBI itself.

One witness’ testimony evaluated by the CDC was Luis Poventud Martínez, who at the time of the incident was director of forensic investigators.

The report underlines that in his testimony Poventud “narrated his impressions on arriving at the area of the home on September 24 and explained the tasks carried out by each of the institute’s group of technicians.”

It adds that “Mr. Poventud was one of several technicians from the ICF (Institute of Forensic Sciences) who alluded to the presence of a trumpet on the concrete block stairs of the home. One aspect of his testimony, which turned out to be worrisome but wasn’t able to be subjected to better corroboration, was his mentioning that he had been told that Mr. Ojeda Ríos was playing the trumpet when he was injured.”

CDC investigators asked him about the trumpet, and he responded that he heard it said that the musical instrument “had to be moved out of fear it was a bomb. Is that what you heard said?” “Yes. Apparently, from what they tell me, it’s that he was making use of that trumpet.”

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