Daily World News Digest, 20 March 2015

9/11 victim identified through DNA 13 years on

ITV News reports today that a man who died in the 9/11 attacks in New York has been formally identified more than 13 years after the event. New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner’s Office (OCME) announced today that they have identified through DNA 26-year-old Matthew David Yarnell from New Jersey. Yarnell, an assistant vice president for technology at Fiduciary Trust International, was in the South Tower, the second building to be struck by a plane on 11 September 2001. His remains were among those recovered in the original search for remains in 2001 and 2002, but were not identified until additional DNA testing. The identification brings the total number of positively identified victims in the attack to 1,640 out of 2,753 people reported missing. Almost 40 percent of the victims remain unidentified. http://bit.ly/1BEzhrM

Missing persons issue “a scar on Pakistan democracy”

The Pakistan Tribe news portal reported on 19 March that Sirajul Haq, a senator from the Jamaat e Islami movement, has described the missing persons issue as “a scar on the face of the constitution, democracy and a continuation of martial law”.  He was speaking to relatives of missing persons at a protest in Turbat in southern Balochistan on Thursday. He said it was the duty of the government “to stop every unconstitutional action,” noting that “the dear ones of the missing have been staging protests for years but have not been provided with any clue about their relatives.” http://bit.ly/1ANCciA

Pakistan Supreme Court to rule on status of military in cases of enforced disappearance

The Express Tribune of Pakistan reports today that the Supreme Court will hear all missing persons’ cases in the last week of March and will decide legal questions pertaining to the trial of serving military officers over their alleged role in enforced disappearances. http://bit.ly/1x7QcaY

Mass Grave Discovered in Iraq

The Associated Press reports that more than a dozen bodies were unearthed from a mass grave near the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit on Thursday, as a new UN report said Islamic State (IS) militants may have committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The discovery and the report’s findings – detailing mass killings, torture and rape – raised fears that more atrocities could be uncovered as Iraqi security forces and Shiite militia claw back territory from IS. Iraqi authorities in Salahuddin province unearthed 13 bodies in the district of al-Boajeel, east of the city of Tikrit, where security forces and Shiite militias are engaged in a large-scale offensive against the militants. http://bit.ly/1Od2QuH

Mexico: Torture victim released after two decades behind bars

Amnesty International issued a statement on 19 March describing a Mexican Supreme Court judgment ordering the immediate release of a man jailed more than two decades ago on the basis of a confession extracted under torture as an important victory for justice. The Supreme Court ordered Alfonso Martín del Campo Dodd’s release on 18 March. He spent nearly 23 years in prison after being convicted in 1992 for the murder of his sister and brother-in-law, crimes he only confessed to after being arbitrarily detained and tortured in Mexico City. Amnesty views the case as emblematic because it demonstrates the multiple flaws within Mexico’s criminal justice system which continue to allow arbitrary detention and evidence extracted under torture. Official forensic reports are often deficient and those carried out by independent experts are often ignored, it says. http://bit.ly/19EOtzu

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.