On May 28, 2010, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was beaten, tortured, and suffocated by border agents until he stopped breathing. He was revived and remained on life support for several days until he died on May 31, 2010.
Although the FBI decided to investigate the incident following the release of eyewitness video, they ultimately declined to prosecute, despite eyewitness evidence and clear obstruction of justice on the part of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP not only dispersed witnesses at the incident, they disappeared government video footage and impeded the investigation.
On March 29, 2016, the family of Anastasio Hernández Rojas, represented by Alliance San Diego, a member of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, and international law experts from the University of California, Berkeley International Human Rights Law Clinic filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington D.C. The petition follows six years of failure to hold CBP agents accountable for killing Anastasio. Click here to see photos and videos of the petition delivery to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
On May 10, 2017, the IACHR announced that it will move forward with the case, giving the US government the opportunity to respond to allegations of extrajudicial killing, torture, and obstruction of justice. This is the first case alleging an unlawful killing by law enforcement opened by the IACHR against the United States. Click here to learn more about this historic decision.
The Trump Administration responded, arguing that the IACHR did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. Anastasio’s family responded back that IACHR did indeed have the authority to decide this case. Click here for the response brief from March 2018 (DOWNLOAD).
On May 28, 2020, Anastasio’s family marked the 10th anniversary of the incident that led to his death a few days later. The family now awaits a decision from IACHR to decide the jurisdictional question and advance to the merits stage of the case.
In the meantime, the family is partnering with local artists, supported by Alliance San Diego and American Friends Service Committee to erect a 50-foot mural in iconic Chicano Park to memorialize the fight for justice in the borderlands. Learn more about the mural and how you can support it here.