REPORT N° 9/92
The complaint received by the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights, dated October, 1988, to the effect that:
Monday, April 11, 1988, at 8:30 a.m., Francisco Alberto Martinez
Marroquin, 34 years of age and married, left his home in Jardines del
Selsunt, Prodico Street, N°
9, Ilopango, San Salvador, to pay the water and electricity bills.
He then drove to the Amatepec Development in Credisa to collect a
sum of money that was owed to him.
At around 2:00 p.m., he left Credisa and drove to the Libertad
Development to borrow some money. He
then left by the street that leads to Ricaldone High School and happened
to pass an ocher-colored pick-up with a dual cabin and
tinted glass. Two men got
out and pointed at him, telling him to "stop, stop right
there." They shoved
him into the car and put a blindfold on him.
After driving for about 30 minutes, they reached their
destination, took him out of the car and put him in something that
seemed to be an underground jail. He
could tell that there were sewer pipes down there.
They took him into another small room which was completely dark.
There was another hooded man there.
They told him they needed his help and that he should tell them
whom he was working with, his comrades' address, and the number of years
he had been working there, implying that he had links to guerrilla
detainee told him that he had nothing to do with any group, that they
had made a mistake. One of
the hooded men told him: "Look,
we know that you have ties with the subversive movement and what good
will it do you to deny it if we're going to kill you.
You have to cooperate."
The other men who had taken him to that room and who also wore
hoods, tied his hands behind him. One of the hood men who was interrogating him punched him in
the stomach, saying that he was in their hands and had better talk.
They then asked him if he knew the university campus.
He told them that he did because he had lived there as a child
and had friends who worked there.
they could not make him talk, they beat him and began to torture him.
On Monday, April 18, they came back and took him out of the cell
to interrogate him again, insisting that he had better cooperate.
When he did not say what they wanted him to say, they used
electric shocks, whereupon he passed out.
During the night they came to his cell and told him that they were going to release him. But, they said, he had 15 days in which to leave the country. They then threw him out of the vehicle and left him with his hands tied. He regained consciousness at around 5:30 the next day and began to walk in a gully until he found refuge with people who helped him. Since then his health has been poor as a result of the torture.
Through a note dated November 1, 1988, the Commission began its
process of the case and asked the Government of El Salvador to furnish
the pertinent information on the facts reported in that communication
and any other information that would make it possible to establish
whether the remedies under domestic law had been exhausted in the case
addressed in the petition; the Government was given 90 days in which to
respond to that request.
Through a note dated February 12, 1990, the Commission reiterated
its request to the Government of El Salvador, noting that the reply
should be received within 30 days.
On May 7, 1990, the Government of El Salvador informed the
The Commission asked the Government of El Salvador to send
additional information on the status of the present case, in notes of
November 13, 1990, and January 17, 1991.
Thus far it has received no reply.
At its 79th session, the Commission adopted Report N°
18/91, which was dispatched to the Government of El Salvador so that it
might formulate whatever observations it deemed appropriate, within
three months of the date of dispatch. The report indicated that if the
case was not settled by the Government, or submitted by it to the Court,
the Commission would decide whether to publish the report.
That the Commission is competent to hear the present case
inasmuch as it concerns violations of rights recognized in the American
Convention on Human Rights--Article 5 on the right to humane
treatment and Article 7 on the right to personal liberty--as
provided in Article 44 of that Convention, of which El Salvador is a
That the petition meets the formal requirements for admissibility
set forth in the American Convention on Human Rights and in the
Regulations of the Commission.
That the petition is not pending settlement in any other
international arrangement and is not a restatement of an earlier
petition already examined by the Commission.
That in the instant case it is obvious that the petitioner has
been unable to secure effective protection from the organs having
jurisdiction, so that the requirements concerning exhaustion of the
remedies under domestic law, spelled out in Article 46 of the
Convention, do not apply.
That the response provided by the Government of El Salvador to
the Commission, dated May 7, 1990, concerns the arrest of someone other
than the individual in question in the instant case, and the method,
timing, and scene of the events are completely different.
That the way in which Mr. Martinez Marroquin was seized and the
outrageous conditions in which he was kept throughout the period of his
confinement indicate that he was the victim of paramilitary groups
having ties to the Salvadoran security forces, since it is the latter
that is interested in obtaining information on subversives; all this
points to the existence of a very grave practice used to exact, via
extrajudicial means and through the use of violence, confessions from
those who are seized.
That the way these paramilitary groups operate, concealing the
identity of their members and using clandestine places of confinement,
is compounded by the lack of action on the part of the authorities to
investigate the facts and identify those responsible, all of which helps
to ensure that the authors of violations such as the one denounced are
able to act with complete impunity.
That despite the time that has passed and the repeated overtures
made by the Commission, the Government of El Salvador has not responded
to the facts denounced in the instant case.
That by not responding, the Government has failed to comply with
its international obligation to supply the Commission with information
within a reasonable time period, as provided in Article 48 of the
That, since the friendly settlement procedure provided for in
Article 48.1.f. of the American Convention does not apply because of the
very nature of the acts denounced, the Commission must comply with the
provisions of Article 50.1 of the Convention by issuing its conclusions
and recommendations on the complaint filed with it for consideration.
That the Government of El Salvador has not submitted observations
on Report N°
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
To declare that the Government of El Salvador is responsible for
the violation of the right to humane treatment and the right to personal
liberty (Articles 5 and 7 of the Convention) of Mr. Francisco Alberto
Martinez Marroquin, according to the complaint received at the
Commission on October of 1988.
To declare that the Government of El Salvador has failed to honor
its obligations under Article 1 of the American Convention on Human
Rights, to respect human rights and fundamental guarantees.
To make the following recommendations to the Government of El
Salvador, pursuant to Article 50.3 of the Convention and Article 47 of
the Regulations of the Commission:
That it conduct a swift, exhaustive and impartial investigation
into the events denounced in order to identify those responsible and
bring them to justice, so that they may receive the punishment that such
grave conduct demands.
That it adopt the measures necessary to prevent the commission of
similar crimes in the future.
c. That it make reparations for the consequences of the situation that its violation of those human rights has created and pay the aggrieved parties a fair compensation.
Request the Government of El Salvador to inform the Commission
regarding the measures it is adopting in the present case, in accordance
with the recommendations formulated in paragraph 3 of the operative part
of this report.
Publish this report by including it in the Annual Report to be
presented to the General Assembly, in accordance with Article 48 of the
Regulations of the Commission; since the Government of El Salvador did
not inform the Commission of the measures it has taken to remedy the
situation, within the period prescribed in Report N°