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Death Squads

NEWS
November 18, 1989 | From Inquirer Wire Services
A U.N. report yesterday blamed El Salvador's government for a "resurgence of torture" in 1989, and Democratic U.S. senators warned that President Alfredo Cristiani must make better progress on human rights or risk losing substantial U.S. aid. "The time has come for President Cristiani to evidence his commitment to controlling those officials within his own government and within his own party who are in very large part responsible for the civil...
NEWS
November 18, 1989 | By David Zucchino, Inquirer Staff Writer
A white former South African police captain has said that he helped command a police assassination squad that has murdered anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside South Africa. In an interview published yesterday in the Afrikaans weekly Vrye Weekblad, former Capt. Johannes Dirk Coetzee said his "death squad" killed or tried to kill activists in London, Swaziland and Mozambique. Coetzee said the unit often planted bombs, one of them smuggled into England in a South African diplomatic pouch.
NEWS
November 5, 1989
In a South Africa that seems suddenly ripe for change, the police have been reined in of late. They've been stripped of their whips, kept discreetly out of sight during major black rallies, even subjected to a little criticism. But they weren't prepared last week for a bit of unplanned glasnost - explosive disclosures by a former black security officer who said he'd murdered anti-apartheid activists for a departmental hit squad. The officer, Butana Nofomela, had been about to hang in an unrelated crime when he blurted his secret.
NEWS
October 29, 1989 | By David Zucchino, Inquirer Staff Writer
On the eve of the day he was to hang on the Central Prison gallows, Butana Nofomela finally accepted that his protectors had failed him. No one from the security police had arrived at his death row cell to rescue him. It was then that Nofomela, himself a former security police officer, summoned a lawyer and poured out an extraordinary tale: He had been a member of a police "assassination squad" that had murdered at least nine anti- apartheid activists....
NEWS
August 28, 1989 | By Marc Kaufman, Inquirer Staff Writer
The body of Cecil Hematantere - riddled with bullets and his hands bound behind his back - lay by the roadside near a stately grove of swaying palms. Scores of wide-eyed people stopped to stare - men, women and little children - but none stayed long. It is not unusual to see a body by the roadside along the stunning southwestern coastline of Sri Lanka, where the Indian Ocean crashes ashore on sandy beaches and tropical flowers lend the air their fragrance. On this morning alone, the bodies of three other men lay within five miles of the young Hematantere, all sprawled beside the main coastal road within 30 miles of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
NEWS
July 15, 1989 | By KENNETH L. KLOTHEN
If we are serious about human rights in El Salvador, we should not be lulled into satisfaction just because blood isn't running in the streets. There is good reason to believe that the right-wing Arena party's control of the government will result in a decrease in death-squad violence, accompanied by an increase in less-obvious measures that suppress basic human rights. To promote human rights in El Salvador, both sides of the debate in the United States will have to look beyond the death squads and attend carefully to the entire human-rights record of the Arena government, now led by President Alfredo Cristiani.
NEWS
June 15, 1989 | BY BILL CRUICE
In the wake of election violence in Panama, George Bush declared "The U.S. will not recognize or accommodate with a regime that holds power through force and violence . . . " But less than two months earlier, when the Salvadoran military gunned down more than 20 civilians - including three journalists - during presidential elections in El Salvador, Washington barely batted an eyelash. Repeated death threats forced Salvadoran opposition candidates to campaign wearing bulletproof vests, opposition poll watchers were abducted, and voters cast their ballots under the vigilance of heavily armed troops, but U.S. Ambassador William Walker hailed Salvadoran elections as a "civic fiesta.
NEWS
June 14, 1989 | By Lisa Ellis, Inquirer Staff Writer
Members of Congress and American labor leaders issued strong protests yesterday against the seizing Monday evening of a Salvadoran unionist who was about to leave for a U.S. speaking tour that included a luncheon tomorrow in Philadelphia. Jose Mazariego, 40, a member of the executive committee of the communications union known as ASTTEL, was seized by armed men in civilian clothes outside a union federation office a few blocks from the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, and was reportedly detained by the Treasury Police.
NEWS
June 14, 1989 | By Gina Boubion, Daily News Staff Writer
The Salvadoran labor leader who was abducted Monday in El Salvador turned up in a government prison yesterday charged with "terroristic activities," according to Philadelphia Congressman Thomas Foglietta's office. Jose Tomas Mazariego, leader of the country's telecommunications workers, had been scheduled to be in Philadelphia tomorrow to address a group of city labor leaders, but he was forced into a blue van by plainclothes police on Monday, shortly after obtaining his visitor's visa at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador.
NEWS
June 13, 1989
The song is over, but the malady lingers on. Ronald Reagan is out of office. People like Elliott Abrams, who used to be in charge of official lying about Central America, have left government to pursue their murderous dreams in right-wing think tanks. You'd think maybe that would be the end of the Reaganisti obsession with what our immediate past president referred to as the Nicaraguan "freedom fighters. " No such luck. A top State Department official has conceded that the Bush administration is considering covert intelligence operations aimed at influencing the Nicaraguan elections in February - "to keep the Sandinistas guessing.
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