National: Forum “justice for all” pronounces itself in favor of the release of Alberto Patishtán. Amnesty International joins the call

September 13, 2013

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On 15 August, in Mexico City there was held the forum “Justice for all,” during which different civil organizations expressed their concern for the structure of the Mexican justice system, particularly in the case of Alberto Patishtán, a Tsotsil teacher from El Bosque, who has been incarcerated since 2000.  Participants called on the justices of the justices of the Primary Collegiate Tribunal of the Twentieth Circuit to announce Patishtán’s release during the 29 August session.  Patishtán’s judicial process was described as “full of irregularities” and based on false evidence.

Amnesty International (AI) joined the call, stressing that “the fact that a person could spend more than 12 years incarcerated as a victim of a judicial process plagued by obvious irregularities speaks to the lamentable state of the Mexican justice system.”  AI also indicated that it has “observed serious failures during the process, including irregularities and contradictions in witnesses’ testimony identifying Alberto Patishtán as responsible of the charges he is accused of.  Nonetheless, this testimony was taken at face value, even though the evidence which shows that Patishtán was in fact located elsewhere during the time of the was not taken into account.  The organization also showed that Patishtán’s defense failed to provide an adequate case, thus contributing even more to the violation of his right to a fair trial.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Increíble, Patishtán sigue preso y los culpables están libres (La Jornada, 16 de agosto de 2013)

Las autoridades mexicanas deben fallar de forma pronta y justa sobre el caso de Alberto Patishtán (Amnistía Internacional, 15 de agosto de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Global action to demand the release of Alberto Patishtán and justice for political prisoners (20 August 2013)

Chiapas: 9 prisoners in solidarity with the Voz del Amate released, but Patishtán will remain imprisoned (20 July 2013)

Chiapas: March in Cerss no. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas for prisoner Rosario Méndez (5 March 2013)

Chiapas: New sentence of 25 years for Rosario Díaz Méndez (5 February 2013)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage by the Believing People for the release of professor Alberto Patishtan (23 April 2013)

Chiapas: Petition from the CDHFBC to release Alberto Patishtán (15 April 2013)

 


Chiapas: The OCEZ-RC sit-in, twelve days later

November 13, 2009
@Expreso de Chiapas

Since Monday October 26th about 150 members of OCEZ-RC (Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization, Carranza Region) have maintained a sit-in in the center of San Cristobal de Las Casas to denounce intimidation by the military and police in their region, and to demand the release of their members: Jose Manuel Chema Hernandez Martinez was arrested on September 30th, while Jose Manual de la Torre and Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez were apprehended on October 24th. All three are accused of stealing, causing damage and criminal association, among other charges.

On October 29th Amnesty International asked the Mexican government to investigate the complaints against the Chiapas police, who are accused of torturing OCEZ leaders. Amnesty International also asked for the guarantee of a fair trial for Jose Hernandez Martinez who remains unable to communicate since being transferred to a maximum-security prison 2000 kilometers from Chiapas.

On October 30th in “a desperate measure to call attention and obtain the release of our fellow members,” participants from the sit-in occupied the offices of the United Nations (UN) in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The OCEZ members explained that the occupation was a “peaceful act related to international rights against forced internal displacement.” They said they were afraid police and soldiers would conduct raids in their communities in Venustiano Carranza.

UN official Arnaud Peral said “the UNDP has determined the peaceful nature of the protest up until now, despite the imposition of having their headquarters occupied, and has asked the authorities not to proceed with any forced removal based on the principal of respect for the inviolability of United Nations offices.” However, he stated that the UN would join “the negotiation process once the offices were vacated, and once the framework for dialogue as well as representation of the occupying group had been clarified.”

On November 4th prisoners Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez and Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez asked that those occupying the UNDP offices vacate the building. That same day the National Front in the Struggle for Socialism (Frente Nacional de Lucha hacia el Socialismo, FNLS) denounced the “fact that the last two OCEZ-RC members who were arrested (Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez and Roselio Cruz Gonzalez) had agreed to change their lawyer Lic. Marcos Lopez Perez, are spreading the news that they weren’t tortured and now ‘ask’ their fellow members to vacate the UNPD offices is undeniably proof of the terrorism of these supposed state authorities. It’s obvious they were subject to pressure and threats to take these positions.” They also pointed out “the FNLS doesn’t rule out that the repressive strategy being used against the OCEZ-RC – which has been used to facilitate the militarization of their region – is part of the declared intentions of the Governor Juan Sabines in the sense that he is going to create the ‘social conditions’ necessary to give access to transnational mining extraction in Chiapas.”

On November 5th the OCEZ announced that they had proposed that the Government Secretary of Chiapas, Noe Castanon Leon, set up a working group “to ease tensions and show good faith” in order to find a solution to their demands and the occupation of the United Nations offices. This initiative may take place as early as this weekend.

For more information:

- Acción Urgente de Amnistía Internacional

- Solicita AI que se indaguen denuncias de tortura contra líderes de la OCEZ (La Jornada, 29 de octubre)

- Toman oficinas de la ONU (Cuarto Poder, 31 de octubre)

- Descartan líderes de la OCEZ-RC toma del PNUD (Milenio, 4 de noviembre)

- Posición del FNLS antes el conflicto de la OCEZ-RC (Carta abierta, 4 de noviembre)

- Propone la OCEZ mesa de distensión (La Jornada, 6 de noviembre)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Organizations and social movements descend on San Cristobal to call for justice (octubre 2009)

Chiapas: Prisoner forced to transfer to maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit (october 2009)

Chiapas: OCEZ leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region captured(october 2009)



Chiapas: Organizations and social movements descend on San Cristobal to call for justice

October 31, 2009

On Monday October 26th, 2009, the Cathedral Square in San Cristobal de Las Casas was the scene of much activity and mobilization as three organizations and social movements arrived in the center of town, one after another. The three groups – the “community of Faith (Pueblo Creyente)–Tzotzil Region, The Other Campaign, and the Emiliano Zapata Campesina Organization-Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) – each had distinct demands that came down to the same basic message: there is no justice in Chiapas. Some demanded that “paramilitaries” charged in the Acteal Massacre remain in jail, while others asked for the release of social leaders who have been “arbitrarily detained.”

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The Community of Faith–Tzotzil Region had organized a “Pilgrimage for Peace and real Justice” in solidarity with the Acteal Abejas. Together they called on the Supreme Court of Mexico to refrain from freeing any more of the prisonners accused as material perpetrators of the Acteal massacre of 1997. Five hundred people from the Highlands of Chiapas participated. At the end of the pilgrimage, mass was celebrated in the Cathedral by the Bishop of San Cristobal, Father Enrique Diaz Diaz, along with parish priests from the area.

According to journalists’ sources the Supreme Court of Mexico is expected to make a decision in the cases of 31 prisoners in jail for their participation in the Acteal Massacre of December 22nd, 1997. The media has reported that some of the prisoners could be released for violations to their human rights during the court process, despite the fact that Abejas members have identified them as material perpetrators of the crime. If the prisoners are released, they would add to the 20 persons who were already released August 12th as a result of another Supreme Court decision.

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During the morning of October 26th about 200 Other Campaign followers – the majority indigenous – gathered at the San Cristobal bus terminal to begin a march into the city. They demanded the release of political prisoners, referring in particular to prisoners from the Front for the People in Defense of the Land (FPDT) in San Salvador Atenco (Estado de Mexico), the Civil Resistance Movement of non-payment for electric energy from Candelaria (Campeche), two tseltal members of the Other Campaign from San Sebastian Bachajon (Chiapas) and Alberto Patishtan, from the Voice of El Amate (Chiapas). The march, which was carried out as part of a national mobilization organized by the Other Campaign, came to an end in the Cathedral Square after the mass of the Community of Faith. Residents of the communities of San Sebastian Bachajon and Jotola, among others, also took the opportunity to speak to those gathered.

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While Other Campaign followers were still carrying out their meeting, 100 members of the Campesina Organization Emiliano Zapata – Carranza Region (OCEZ-RC) arrived at the Cathedral. They demanded the release of three of their “compañeros” who are presently jailed, as well as a stop to all harassment by the state government toward their organization. They announced the beginning of a sit-in in the Cathedral Square as a pressure tactic to resolve their demands, beginning October 26th for an indefinite period of time.

OCEZ said that ever since the arrest of one of their leaders, Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez, on September 30th, the harassment in their communities has been relentless. At dawn on October 24th the Attorney General of State Justice (PGJE) arrested other members of their group: Roselio de la Cruz Gonzalez and Jose Manuel de la Torre Hernandez were arrested without being served arrest warrants. On October 25th a joint military and police search for drugs and firearms was carried out in Laguna Verde. Laguna Verde, along with neighbouring community 28 de Junio, are communities where members of OCEZ-RC live. Out of fear for their lives the residents had asked for the presence of human rights observers who were witnesses during the raid and concluded that no illicit objects were found.

For more information:

On the Pilgrimage of the Community of Faith and ‘Las Abejas’

Comunicado de Las Abejas de la conferencia de prensa del 22 de octubre 2009

La SCJN resolverá este miércoles sobre los recursos pendientes del caso Acteal (La Jornada 27/10/09)

Se manifiestan contra la SCJN… (Expreso de Chiapas 27/10/09)

On the Other Campaign March

ONG exigen la liberación de los presos políticos en el país (La Jornada (27/10/09)

On OCEZ-RC

Comunicado de la OCEZ-RC: En la madrugada detienen a dos miembros de la OCEZ Carranza la policía

Acción Urgente del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas

Exige la OCEZ libertad para 3 de sus dirigentes (La Jornada 27/10/09)

For more information from SIPAZ

Journey of the “Community of faith”: Reflection and action on a changing reality (August 2009)

Special Report on the Case of Acteal (August 30, 2009) – The Supreme Court (SCJN) Ruling: an irreproachable ruling judicially, a highly questioned decision based in the historical and actual context

Chiapas: The Abejas Denounce the Harassment of the Chiapas Government (october 2009)

Chiapas: Prisoner forced to transfer to maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit (october 2009)

Chiapas: OCEZ leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region captured(october 2009)




Chiapas: Alberto Patishtan’s case generating action around the world

September 19, 2009

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Today marks nine years, two months and 29 days that Professor Alberto Patishtan Gomez has been in jail. Patishtan has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for homicide, assault, robbery and possession of firearms among other criminal charges. He is also the only political prisoner of the group “Voice of Amate” to remain behind bars after a hunger strike in 2008 led to the release of more than 300 prisoners in Chiapas, including 47 who had just completed the hunger strike.

On September 9th in San Cristobal de Las Casas an organization of ex-political prisoners and their family members called Innocent Voices, denounced the fact that “the government of Juan Sabines Guererro has made Patishtan Gomez into a political hostage.” They went on to say “despite the fact that Patishtan has shown his innocence legally through a review of records, he still hasn’t attained the freedom he deserves.”

According Innocent Voices, “the government has washed its hands of the situation, saying it’s a federal offense and they have no jurisdiction to resolve it.” They went on to say the state government calls itself “a government of justice, peace and dialogue” and always calls attention to the fact that there are no political prisoners being held unjustly, but in the end “we realize that in this is a government with little ability or political will.” Innocent Voices concluded their statement by demanding Patishtan’s immediate and unconditional release as well as the removal of any obstacles imposed on people wishing to visit him.

Alberto Patishtan’s case is generating action around the world. A few weeks ago the Swiss organization Peacewatch Switzerland carried out a campaign for his release and collected signatures that were then delivered to Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas. The Swedish organization SweFOR, Swedish Movement for Reconciliation, also began a campaign demanding his release. Signatures were collected demanding his release on September 21st in Stockholm.

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de la organización de ex presos políticos y familiares Voces Inocentes (08/09/2009)

“Usa el gobierno de Juan Sabines a tzotzil como “rehen político”, denuncia ONG”, La Jornada (17/09/2009)

More information from SIPAZ:

The Voice of Amate (La Voz del Amate) Speaks (August 2009)



Oaxaca: David Venegas is absolved of all crimes on April 20

April 28, 2009

On Monday, April 20 David Venegas Reyes “Alebrije” was cleared off all charges regarding supposed possession of cocaine and heroine, which ended the two year long criminal process in which he was jailed for 11 months. David Venegas was freed on March 5, 2008 “completely exonerated of the crime of burning buildings on November 25, but still charged with the crime of possession of cocaine and heroine with intent to sell”. He has been out of jail for more than a year under conditional freedom, which means that he had to appear before a judge once every 15 days.

Oaxacan Voices Building Liberty and Autonomy (VOCAL) stated in their press release on April 21 that the sentence, “far from being a sign of that the Mexican judicial system is functioning, was a result of the strength of the popular movement and the solidarity of people from all over Mexico and the world. The judicial system in Mexico is sick to its guts and it is an instrument of the government used to repress those who fight for justice and liberty”.

It is important to remember that since his liberation in March of 2008, David Venegas has worked for the liberation of other “political prisoners” in Oaxaca and in Chiapas, where he showed his solidarity with the protest in front of the Government palace in Tuxtla in March of 2008, which was protesting for freedom for the prisoners in hunger strike. On April 12, a Cultural Political Week was organized by the family and friends of political prisoners, as well as members of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in support of the liberation of the prisoners of the APPO: Víctor Hugo Martínez, Miguel Angel García, Pedro Castillo Aragón, and Juan Manuel Martínez.

For More Information:

Judge Declares APPO Adviser David Venegas Innocent of Drug Charges, Kristin Bricker, Narconews, (4/21).

For More Information (In Spanish):

“Obtenemos la libertad de absoluta de David Venegas  “alebrije”, VOCAL (21/04/2009)


Guerrero: prisoners of the OPIM are released

October 23, 2008

The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña (CDHM, El Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan) released the following press release regarding the appeal granted to 4 of the 5 members of the Indiginous Me’phaa People’s Organization (OPIM, Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me’phaa):

Federal judge grants appeal by Me’phaa indigenous men imprisoned in Ayutla

  • The verdict was announced on 15th October in favour of four prisoners. One will remain in prison.
  • The prisoners who won the appeal should be freed by tomorrow, Tuesday 21st October.
  • The verdict demonstrates that the aim of the arrests was to put an end to their organised work

Tlapa, Guerrero, Mexico on October 20, 2008- The Eigth District judge based in Acapulco, Livia Lizabeth Larumbe Radilla, granted the appeal by four of the five members of the Indigenous Me’phaa People’s Organisation (Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me´phaa, OPIM). For six months they have been imprisoned in Ayutla jail, accused of the murder of an Army informer.

Following this verdict that was announced on 15th October, the First Instance Mixed judge in Ayutla, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, was notified on Friday 17th and he has 24 hours to release the accused indigenous men.

This would mean that tomorrow, 21st October, at the latest, the prisoners will be leaving the jail, except for Raúl Hernández Abundio, who will remain in prison because the District judge says that the witnesses claim that he was present when the gun that killed Alejandro Feliciano García was fired, on 1st January this year. However, this accusation is very vague. Read the rest of this entry »


Mexico: “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime.” Statement from Edgar Cortez (Red TDT)

August 19, 2008

Edgar Cortez presents the “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime” campaign at Centro Prodh

Edgar Cortez, Executive Secretary of the National Network of Civil Organizations for Human Rights ‘All Rights for All’ (Red TDT, Red Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos), spoke on the organization’s national campaign “Protest is a Right, Repression is a Crime” at the First National Meeting of Human Rights Defenders and Family Members of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience which took place July 24 through 26 in Mexico City.

The introduction to his comments touched on the poverty in Mexico as well as the lack of human rights vigilance stating that “there is not only an economic inequality, but rather this inequality is translated into an inequality of the possibility of enjoying all of one’s rights.” His remarks revolved around the recent constitutional reforms of the Mexican judicial system which were approved on June 18 of this year. While Cortez admits that there are some good changes made in the reform, the definition of “organized crime” has been extended so broadly that it may very well be applied to social protest and social activists. His presentation refers to the fact that “the full weight of the law” is used against social protest without evidence or the guarantee of due process.” The presentation also claims that “in Mexico, rights are used to ‘mistreat those they should care for, persecute those they should protect, ignore those they should pay more attention to and serve those they should control.’”

Read the rest of this entry »


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