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DPP Orders Re-arrest of Eight Law Enforcement Men

A Belize Defence Force soldier has been arrested and charged for the death of a deportee which occurred on February 23, 2018.  The soldier, 24-year-old Bladimir Escarraga was formally charged by Police with manslaughter.  The charge stems from an incident where 46-year-old Ariel Audinette died after a group of law enforcement officers attached to the Belize Special Assignment Group (BSAG) beat him up.  Audinette was along with two other men inside an apartment in Orange Walk Town when the officers bolted in to reportedly conduct a search.  Audinette was severely beaten in the process and died hours later.  Initially the eight BSAG members were charged with murder but the charge was later withdrawn.  The case is now being reopened and the men will be charged with manslaughter.  The seven BDF soldiers and one police officer are Escarraga, Francis Sho, Patrick Villagran Sr, Edmar Petillo, Patrick Diego, Mateo Bolon, Elvis Cobb and Lennart Cajun.  Interestingly, at the time of the incident the then opposition, People’s United Party had called for the disbanding of BSAG.  The PUP had added, at the time, that should the government choose not to disband BSAG, then they would do it once they get into government.  We will keep following.