January 18, 2007
The Will family is pleased to have the renowned Mexican human rights lawyer, Miguel Angel de Los Santos Cruz, join the cause for justice in the case of Bradley Roland Will’s death.
Brad, a New York based photojournalist and activist, was shot and killed in Oaxaca, Mexico last October 27th while videotaping the turmoil in the Mexican State. Although two government-affiliated suspects were initially held for the murder, they were released by Oaxacan state authorities in late November on claims of insufficient evidence. A number of human rights groups have questioned the legitimacy of the state investigation and are calling for the case to be moved to the federal level.
De los Santos is a lawyer who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all people are treated justly by his country’s legal system. He has long helped the indigenous people of the Mexican state of Chiapas, ensuring fair legal representation for Mexico’s poor. De los Santos has represented victims of abuse by government authorities and has been an attorney for political prisoners in Mexico. He has also reported human rights abuses in southern Mexico to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
De los Santos will act as coadyuvante, the official legal representative for the family, to which victims’ families are entitled under Mexican law. He will have full access to the complete investigative file and he will work toward a thorough and legitimate investigation into Brad’s tragic death.
“There is a serious problem of impunity in Mexico, and we do not want Brad’s murder to increase the long list of unresolved cases. It has been almost three months since Brads death – we urge the Mexican authorities to carry out a prompt, effective and impartial investigation to find those responsible and make them accountable,” said de los Santos. “The Mexican government has already failed in its obligation to ensure Brads right to life, so now we hope it wont fail to investigate and to punish those responsible for his murder.”
Brad’s mother, Kathy Will, added: “There are serious allegations of human rights abuses in Oaxaca. It is time for the Mexican government to step forward and address these issues and pursue a vigorous prosecution of the guilty parties. Our son was only one of many journalists attacked this past year in Mexico. We want justice. The practice of impunity must end.”