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Body exhumed, new investigation opened into Merida officers accused in death of youth in custody

Merida, Yucatan — On Saturday morning, the body of a young man alleged killed while in police custody was exhumed. The body of 23-year-old José Eduardo Ravelo was exhumed from his Veracruz grave in order for a new autopsy to be performed.

The Attorney General’s Office (FGR) exhumed the body after finding irregularities in the first autopsy, which occurred on August 3 in the Agustín O’Horán hospital in Mérida.

The FGR has ordered a new autopsy to clarify the causes of death. The family’s lawyer, Andrés Nieves, confirmed that the family was present during the exhumation in the municipal cemetery of Isla, Veracruz.

Days after his death, four Merida police officers were taken into custody but later released. On August 16, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asked the FGR to initiate an investigation for the alleged murder and rape of José Eduardo, which would have been perpetrated by municipal police from Merida. His call came after a meeting with the mother of the deceased youth.

On August 20, the Prosecutor’s Office secured three Mérida police officers as part of its investigations. The agency says the new investigation will include the Secretary of the Interior, Olga Sánchez Cordero, adding that the possibility of filing a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) is also being considered.

The new investigation began after four police officers alleged related to the murder of José Eduardo Ravelo were released August 13 due to a lack of evidence. Shortly after, the Yucatan Prosecutor’s Office announced that it would file an appeal.

A day after the officers were released, videos emerged showing police officers physically abusing the youth into unconsciousness.

According to his mother María Ravelo, the young man died from injuries caused after being detained, beaten and raped by municipal police on July 22. She said her son was walking in a park in the Yucatan capital when a group of police officers arrested him for being suspicious.

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