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Ex-Mexico City Mayor Martinez Dies

November 6, 2002

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MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) _ Alfonso Martinez Dominguez, a former Mexico City mayor whose testimony was considered a key part of the government probe into the deaths of more than 30 students during his term in 1971, died Wednesday. He was 81.

Martinez had been hospitalized since July in his native Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon where he served as governor from 1979-85.

Shortly after he was hospitalized with kidney and heart problems, government prosecutors visited Martinez to question him about his alleged role in a June 1971 incident in which security forces in civilian clothes beat and shot at student demonstrators in Mexico City, leaving an estimated 30 protesters dead.

Martinez denied any involvement and said the security forces involved were under the control of then-President Luis Echeverria, who also is under investigation for the 1971 incident and a larger student massacre in 1968. Echeverria also has denied responsibility.

President Vicente Fox named a special prosecutor last year after the government’s National Human Rights Commission confirmed at least 275 ``disappearances″ in the 1970s and early 1980s. Fox, whose election ended the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s 71-year rule, has promised to end government-sponsored corruption and violence.

Human rights groups charge that Mexico City’s government, under the supervision of Echeverria, recruited and trained a paramilitary group called the ``Falcons″ to eliminate political activists.

Martinez was removed from his post as mayor shortly after police broke up the 1971 protest, a pro-democracy demonstration called after the student demonstrators involved in the huge Tlatelolco protest of 1968 were released from jail.

Echeverria was interior secretary, a powerful position overseeing domestic security, when Mexican troops ambushed the mostly peaceful student protesters at Mexico City’s Tlatelolco Plaza. The government had said 24 people died, but activists estimate about 300 people were killed.

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