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Politician: Former Mexican prosecutor won’t turn self in in murder case

February 7, 1997

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ A former Mexican prosecutor sought in connection with an evidence-tampering scandal in a high-profile murder case isn’t ready to turn himself in yet, newspapers reported Friday.

Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, former presidential candidate for the opposition National Action Party, was quoted by several newspapers Friday as saying he had met recently with fugitive ex-prosecutor Pablo Chapa Bezanilla.

Fernandez de Cevallos said he was unsuccessful in his attempt to persuade Chapa to turn himself in for questioning. Chapa does not yet face any criminal charges.

``Chapa made a decision which I respect but do not accept,″ Fernandez de Cevallos said. ``I can’t agree with his decision to elude a direct meeting with authorities.″

The politician refused to disclose the date or location of his meeting with Chapa.

Police have been looking for Chapa since Monday, when he failed to answer a subpoena regarding an alleged plot to plant human remains at the home of a brother of ex-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Raul Salinas de Gortari is in jail on a murder charge.

Raul Salinas has denied the charge and any knowledge of how the bones made their way to his ranch outside Mexico City, where they were discovered in October.

Mexico City prosecutors claim a psychic organized the reburial of an in-law’s body at the ranch, apparently out of anger at Salinas or in an attempt to get money either from him or from federal officials trying to convict him.

Several of those former federal officials are either jailed or sought for questioning for misconduct in the case. They initially had suggested the bones were those of a missing witness in the case and implied Salinas had killed the man.

Federal police announced Thursday they had found a car used by Chapa. They refused to reveal the location, citing the ongoing investigation.

Mexican media have speculated that Chapa may have left the country, but the most recent information suggests he may still be in Mexico.

Late Thursday, the federal attorney general’s office said it planned to question Chapa’s former boss, ex-Attorney General Antonio Lozano Gracia, in the case.

Lozano, the first opposition-party member appointed to the attorney general post, has claimed he had no knowledge of any misconduct by Chapa and urged Chapa to come forward and testify.

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