Thu, Jan 06, 2005 - Page 7 News List

Relatives of slain women to get funds

AP , CIUDAD JUAREZ, MEXICO

Mexico will soon begin distributing compensation payments to the relatives of many of the hundreds of women killed in this violence-plagued border city since 1993, a special prosecutor assigned to the cases said on Tuesday. But exactly who will be eligible for payments, as well as how much they will receive remains unclear.

Federal prosecutor Maria Lopez Urbina said payments would begin at the end of this month or early next month at the behest of President Vicente Fox, who has earmarked 25 million pesos (US$2.2 million) for the payment program after promising to compensate relatives of the Juarez victims during his Sept. 1 state of the union address.

According to government tallies, more than 300 women have been killed in this city across from El Paso, Texas, since 1993, though human rights leaders say the number is much higher. At least 100 of the killings appear to fit a pattern where a young, slender woman was sexually abused, strangled and dumped in the desert outside Juarez.

Many of those cases remain unsolved and only two men have been convicted for nine of the slayings.

Lopez Urbina said that the first to receive payments should be children and other close relatives of female victims. Her office was examining the case files of 342 slaying victims to determine who might receive payments, she said, but it was unclear how those eligibility decisions would be reached.

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