Uruguay: Information on the death of Ronny Scarzella in or around April 1993
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 June 1994|
|Citation / Document Symbol||URY17174.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Uruguay: Information on the death of Ronny Scarzella in or around April 1993, 1 June 1994, URY17174.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6abae7c.html [accessed 24 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
What follows is an unofficial translation of information published in the Uruguayan Peace and Justice Service (SERPAJ) human rights report for 1993 (Informe 1993: Derechos Humanos en Uruguay 1994, 34), and in the bimonthly bulletin of SERPAJ (Carta SERPAJ May-June 1993, 5-6). This translation has been prepared by the DIRB for your reference. The original Spanish-language documents are available at the DIRB and can be provided upon request.
In 1993 three persons linked to the Movimiento de Liberación Nacional-Tupamaros (MLN-T) were murdered (Informe 1993 1994, 34). The MLN-T is a group of former guerrillas who formed a legal political movement after the return of democracy in Uruguay in 1985.
Ronald Scarzella was an ex-militant of the Movimiento de Liberación Nacional-Tupamaros (MLN-T), a former convict and exile, and an activist in a human rights group in the locality of La Paloma, where he resided (ibid.). He was hired by unknown persons to perform some work with the truck of the Movimiento por la Tierra (Movement for the Earth) that he handled (ibid.). He was killed on Friday 23 April 1993 in the department of Rocha, 270 kilometres east of Montevideo (Carta SERPAJ May-June 1993, 5). He was found in the trunk of his truck, with a shot to the head, a hood on his head and evidence of having had his hands bound (ibid.). The murder coincided with other attempts or attacks against the Movimiento por la Tierra, an organization created by militants and former militants of the MLN-T, to which Scarzella belonged: swastikas and offensive slogans were painted on the home of Xenia Ité (partner of the late Raúl Sendic, former leader of the MLN-T and founder of the Movimiento por la Tierra); shots were fired against the farm of the Movimiento por la Tierra from a neighbouring property on 22 April, the night before Scarzella was murdered; on the night of the murder an unidentified car rammed the farm's jeep, forcing it out of the road; Scarzella's widow received a death threat against one of her daughters the day in which she arrived to Montevideo accompanying her husband's body (ibid.).
SERPAJ-Uruguay considers the Scarzella case as particularly serious, as the circumstances suggest this was a political murder and there are no other elements that can indicate other motives (Carta SERPAJ May-June 1993, 6). This hypothesis is supported by Scarzella's background as a former MLN-T militant, political prisoner and exile, who was a militant of a human rights organization in the town where he lived (ibid.). He was regarded as a good neighbour and there were no known problems that could explain his murder (ibid.). The circumstances of the crime also support the hypothesis, as it was clearly established that a trap was set, with him travelling to an isolated area to arrange an alleged work contract, at the same time other attacks were perpetrated against the movement to which he belonged (ibid.).
A few days later Ruben Larrosa, an occasional worker at a workshop of former MLN-T militants, was murdered with two shots to his head under similar circumstances, when he travelled to the beach area of Salinas to do some work-for-hire (Informe 1993 1994, 34).
Another former militant of the MLN-T, Francisco Martínez de Cuadro, was abducted and stabbed to death shortly afterward (Carta SERPAJ May-June 1993, 6). Although the victim had a police record for common crimes, the murder is suspect as it took place in an environment where a crime of these characteristics is unusual.
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Carta SERPAJ [Montevideo]. May-June 1993. "Hechos Violentos Sin Esclarecer: No Hay Culpables, Sólo Víctimas."
Informe 1993: Derechos Humanos en Uruguay. 1994. Montevideo: Servicio Paz y Justicia-Uruguay.