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Journalist Brad Will's family conducting independent investigation into his killing, says official hypothesis "irrational"

(CEPET/IFEX) - Faced with a lack of progress in the investigation into their son's death, photojournalist Brad Will's parents announced at a 27 February 2008 press conference in Mexico City that they will begin their own investigation in order to find out what happened.

According to articles published on 28 February in the Mexico City-based dailies "La Jornada" and "El Universal", Kathy and Hardy Will characterised the actions of the national Attorney General's Office Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) as "frustrating and disappointing" since, nearly a year and half after their son's death, the crime remains unsolved. Will, who worked for the Indymedia news agency, was killed on 27 October 2006 during a confrontation between police and activists belonging to the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de Oaxaca, APPO).

According to the government investigation, Will was shot a close range. However, the photojournalist parents have characterised those findings as "illogical and irrational" and announced that the American non-governmental organisation Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) will conduct an independent investigation.

According to "La Jornada", "at the end of March, four PHR experts will visit Oaxaca for two weeks to carry out ballistics, forensic and pathology investigations, in addition to analysing photos and videotapes of the confrontation that led to Will's death. Once they have completed their investigation they will report on their findings to the PGR."

Kathy Will, the photojournalist's mother, said that she met with PGR officials and that they had agreed to allow the independent investigation to proceed. The PGR officials also promised to review the case. With this "we are back to where we started a year and half ago," she said.

Miguel Ángel de los Santos, the Will family's attorney in Mexico, who was also present at the press conference, said that Mexican law allows family members or those affected by a crime to contribute in an investigation and to carry out their own research. He noted that Will's family has not stated that the Oaxaca state was involved in the photojournalist's killing, however, the family is not convinced that the PGR's theory that he was shot at close range is correct, given that this version of events would suppose that the assassin may have been an APPO member. For this reason, the family is opting to carry out its own investigation.

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