Mexican troops face civilian trial for 22 deaths

Mexico City: Seven Mexican soldiers being held in the June killings of 22 suspected criminals will be tried by a civilian judge, three of them for homicide, federal justice officials said Sunday.

Mexico City: Seven Mexican soldiers being held in the June killings of 22 suspected criminals will be tried by a civilian judge, three of them for homicide, federal justice officials said Sunday.

The troops were ordered arrested Friday by a Mexico state judge for dereliction of duty in the June 30 incident.

Three of them are charged with aggravated homicide, and one of them with allowing a crime to take place.

For now, the soldiers are jailed in a military detention center.

In September, a witness said the gun battle itself had left only one dead, and the other 21 were killed in cold blood by the soldiers -- including her 15-year-old daughter.

The case adds to the shock surrounding a more recent case of 43 students who went missing in the southern town of Iguala in late September. They were allegedly taken away and killed by police linked to a drug cartel.

If confirmed, the incident would mark one of the worst horrors in a drug war that has left more than 80,000 people dead since the conflict ramped up in 2006.

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