Mexican lawmaker kidnapped and murdered in Jalisco

State attorney says criminals did not ask for a ransom, while investigators have no solid leads

Security cameras showing the kidnapping as it happens.
Security cameras showing the kidnapping as it happens.TWITTER

Gabriel Gómez Michel, a lawmaker from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was found dead on Tuesday. He and one of his assistants were driving in a car when men approached them on the highway. They were both kidnapped and, hours later, the police found their charred bodies in a van.

The congressman and his assistant were kidnapped around 6pm on Monday in the city of Tlaquepaque in Jalisco (western Mexico). Images released show a group of men getting out of a white vehicle at an intersection and pointing guns at the van in which the victims were traveling, en route to the airport. They were not heard from again. Four hours after the kidnapping, Gómez Michel’s relatives reported his disappearance.

The state attorney in Jalisco said the kidnappers did not ask for a ransom and investigators have no solid leads on the case. Those who knew Gómez Michel say he had not received any kind of threat and that he had no obvious enemies who might want to see him dead. After hearing about the case, PRI congressional coordinator Manlio Fabio Beltrones said: “This should not go unpunished. We felt enormous indignation when we found out about this sad and criminal incident. The murder of a federal deputy cannot go unnoticed.” By the afternoon, President Enrique Peña Nieto still had not spoken regarding the death of his fellow party member. But other PRI colleagues have asked for Mexico’s General Prosecutor to take over the case from state authorities.

This should not go unpunished. The murder of a federal deputy cannot go unnoticed”

The deceased lawmaker was a pediatrician and two-time mayor of El Grullo, an agricultural mountain town of 200,000 residents where the main crop is sugarcane. He became a federal deputy in 2012 on the Green Party ticket. The Green Party is a PRI-affiliated pseudo-environmental group. During his first session, Gómez Michel switched sides and joined the PRI. He proposed five bills but none of them were passed.

In his biographical entry on social media, the late congressman described himself as a Catholic and a moderate man. He was a member of four congressional committees: human rights, environment, navy and livestock farming.

Months after President Peña Nieto took office, Mexico’s intelligence service, Cisen, thwarted an assassination plot against Movimiento Ciudadano deputy Ricardo Monreal. Monreal was the presidential campaign coordinator for the leftist leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador in 2012.

The hitmen were arrested while staying in a hotel in downtown Mexico City, waiting for the right moment to strike.

Earlier this month, the brother of deputy Joel Miranda Salgado was decapitated. The investigation of that case has not made any progress so far.

Translation: Dyane Jean François

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