Guerrero: Liberty for Raúl Hernández, prisoner of conscience

August 30, 2010

Raúl Hernández free (@ Tlachinollan)

After having been held for 28 months in the prison of Ayutla de los Libres, Raúl Hernández Abundio, member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM), was released on Friday, 27 August.  The judge overseeing his case, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, ordered Hernández’s immediate and unconditional release, basing his demand in arguments advanced by the defense.  Sánchez Sánchez said that Raúl Hernández “is neither guilty nor judicially responsible for the murder of Alejandro Feliciando García, which occurred in January 2008.”  Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, the defense lawyer from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, proclaimed the development to be “a triumph for the social movement both in Guerro and Mexico generally.”

Hernández left prison at 2:45pm and was received by members of the OPIM as well as his juridical advisers and lawyers from Tlachinollan.  Via telephone conversation with media sources, he stressed that he “feels happy, now that they have given me my liberty,” and that “we will continue to work so that they give us infrastructure, schools, medical clinics; we will continue to struggle, and I will continue to work.”

In a 27 August communiqué, Amnesty International (AI), which has recognized Raúl Hernández as a prisoner of conscience, requests that Hernández’s “groundless” processing be thoroughly reviewed, and that he receive compensation for his “unjust imprisonment.”  AI claims that “the case against Raúl Hernández constitutes reprisal on the part of the authorities for his legitimate activities in promotion of indigenous rights by means of the OPIM as well as his exposure of the abuses committed by local caciques, soldiers, and authorities.”  In a communiqué released the same day, Tlachinollan reiterates that “the sentence proclaimed today shows the forcefulness of the evidence brought forth by Raúl and his defense and furthermore confirms the inconsistencies of the accusations that the national and international human-rights organizations have denounced with the strong convinction and belief that Raúl is innocent, and that his imprisonment followed from the constant denunciation of fundamental rights carried out objectively by his organization since 1998.”  Raúl Hernández was imprisoned since April 2008, charged for the crime of murdering an informant of the Mexican army, crime he did not commit.

For more information (in Spanish):

Following two years in prison, judge demands liberty for Raúl Hernández (La Jornada, 27 August)

Amnesty International demands compensation for Raúl Hernández, given his unjust imprisonment (El Sur de Acapulco, 28 August)

Prisoner of conscience Raúl Hernández is released; call for clarification of crime for which he was unjustly accused (El Sur de Acapulco, 28 August)

Indigenous defender from Guerrero accused of murder is released (La Jornada, 28 August)

Amnesty International communiqué(27 August)

Communiqué-Raúl Hernández, free (27 de agosto)

Weblog on the case of Raúl Hernández

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: PGJE requests 50 years for Raúl Hernández (11 August)


Guerrero: Briefs – AI pronouncement; Forum of Environmental Defenders

August 2, 2010

On Tuesday 27 July was published in an article in El Sur de Acapulco declarations made by the Guerrero governor Zefererino Torreblanca regarding the imprisonment of Raúl Hernández and his designation as a politicla prisoner by Amnesty International (AI).  He insinuated that AI is mistaken in this case, saying that “if the state-government is sure that it will be accused, it should not retire [the charges],” and that “defense of human rights is confused with legality, since there is evidence.”  AI responded with a pronouncement: “Amnesty International takes up cases of prisoners of conscience only following copious analysis of a given case that allows it to conclude not only regarding the innocence of the processed person, but also [...] of the form in which the justice system is utilized on occasion to persecute leaders, social activists, and individuals for their ethnic origin, sex, social condition–and if they are human-rights defenders.”  Hernández was detained in 2008 for a supposed homicide of an informant of the Mexican army.  The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights is organizing the defense of Raúl Hernández and has already shown all the evidence for the innocence of the member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM). The sentence is expecte dto be announced during the first half of the month of August.

On Wednesday 28 July, a month after the appearance of Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR), a forum was held on environmental defenders and criminalization of social protest in the installations of hte Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights (Center ProDH) in Mexico City.  Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera are members of the Organization of Ecological Campesinos of the Sierra of Petatlán and Coyucade Catalán (OCESP); they will have their audience against the Mexican State this month in San José, Costa Rica.  Both environmental defenders were detained and tortured by the Mexican army in 1990 for crimes they did not commit.  In 2000 they were sentenced to prison for a term of between 6 and 10 years.  After having presented the case to the IACHR in 2001, they were released without having been exonerated for the crimes they were charged with.

For more information (in Spanish):

Zeferino insinuates that he is sure of the accusation against the indigenous prisoner of conscience of Ayutla (El Sur de Acapulco, 27 July)

Amnesty International Declaration: CLARIFICATIONS REGARDING RECENT DECLARATIONS OF THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF GUERRERO

Environmental defenders: the new patriots (CentroProdh, 29 July)

Campesinos ecologistas en busca de justicia ante la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CENCOS, 29 de julio)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: resurgence of conflict over the possible construction of the La Parota dam (27 April 2010)

Guerrero – Briefs: Detention of FODEG member, Raúl Hernández receives threats and announcement of the commemoration of the massacre at Aguas Blancas (30 June 2010)


Guerrero – Briefs: PGJE denigrates the killing of Lorenzo Fernandez; NGOs continue to pressure for the release of Raul Hernández

July 12, 2010

Two years and five months after the murder of Lorenzo Fernández Ortega, brother of Inés Fernández Ortega, who was raped by soldiers in 2002, the Attorney General of the State of Guerrero (PGJE) has presented a homicide suspect. The PGJE has concluded that the killing resulted from a conflict that arose during a drinking binge.

The defense has argued that on February 9, 2008, Lorenzo was subject to enforced disappearance.  A day later, he was found dead – with his body showing visible signs of torture – in the river that runs through the city of Ayutla. Lorenzo was a member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) and played an important role in defending human rights of indigenous people from their region. He actively campaigned to denounce the acts carried out against his sister, Inés Fernández, and supported the denunciations in the case brought before the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights (CODDEHUM) concerning the 14 indigenous women of El Camalote who were forcibly sterilized by the Ministry of Health in 1998.

In a July 5th communiqué, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, the Guerrero Network of Human-Rights Organizations (Red Guerrerense), and OPIM denounced that Tlachinollan, as collaborator in the case, only had a limited access to the advances of the investigation and that the conclusion that the homocide had been the result of a drinking binge denigrates Lorenzo Fernandez as a defender of human rights.

On the same day, Amnesty International (AI) released an Urgent Action demanding the immediate release of political prisoner Raúl Hernández, a member of OPIM.  He was detained on April 17, 2008 and accused of the murder of Alejandro Feliciano García, committed on January 1, 2008. On June 30, 2010, the judge presiding over the trial of this defender of human rights and indigenous peoples closed the evidentiary phase of his trial for murder. The crime-scene investigation conducted by the judge confirmed that the statements of witnesses who claimed that Raul Hernandez was present at the time of the murder were unreliable. AI called on civil society to demand the release of Hernandez from the PGJE in a letter to be sent before August 14, 2010. (See Urgent Action below).

Finally, on July 6th, the Solicitor’s International Human Rights Group (SIHRG) published a report regarding the situation of Raúl Hernández. In the report, the organization emphasized that the incarceration of Hernández was based on lies and that there exists no evidence of his participation in the criminal acts for which he has been accused. The SIHRG expressed profound worry over the case of Hernández and claimed it to be willing to take further measures to protect the human-rights defender.

For more information (in Spanish):

Joint communiqué by Tlachinollan, the Guerrero Network, and OPIM (5 July)

Amnesty International campaign for the release of Raúl Hernández

Amnesty International Urgent Action: Key moment in the trial for murder of activist (5 July)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Briefs–CECOP receive precautionary measures; Report on human rights; Civil society organizations continue asking for the liberation of Raúl Hernández (5 July 2010)


Guerrero – Briefs: Detention of FODEG member, Raúl Hernández recieved threats and announcement of the commemoration of the massacre at Aguas Blancas

June 30, 2010

On the morning of June 21, Bertoldo Martínez Cruz, member of the Front of Democratic Organizations  of the state of Guerrero (FODEG), was accused of  alleged robbery and other grievances by the City Council of Ayutla. He was released later that same day after it was demonstrated that his arrest was based on charges that Attorney General of Guerrero had retired in 2001. However, Bertoldo Martinez, who is also the coordinator of the Collective Against Torture and Impunity (CCIC), said that his detention “was not a mistake” and that in fact it was ordered three months ago. Bertoldo Martínez has been known as a member of the social struggle since 1973, when he was a political prisoner and tortured during the last years of the 90s, for his work against impunity in the case of Aguas Blancas. In a press conference, the Governor of Guerrero, Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo, denied that his government has criminalized social struggle and affirmed that they will continue to detain people with arrest warrants against them.

On the 22nd of June, Amnesty International (AI) released an Urgent Action in support of the prisoner of conscience, Raúl Hernández, who had recieved threats from inmates in the jail of Ayutla de los Libres. In the Urgent Action, AI asked the authorities to provide protection  to Raúl Hernández  and requested again his immediate release for having been detained unjustly. Moreover, Raúl Hernández, through the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña, sent a letter to the Superior Court of Justice (TSJ), on 21 June. In his letter, Hernández requested that the TSJ end the process with a fast and just sentence, in consideration of the fact that his lawyers have evidence showing his innocence. Raúl Hernández, member of the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa People (OPIM), was incarcerated in 2008, accused of murdering an army informant. He was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by AI because of his wrongful imprisonment.

Finally, the leader of the Popular Organization of Producers of Guerrero (OPPEG), Luis Enriquez Olivares, reported that 15-years after the slaughter of Aguas Blancas,  a rally will be convened commemorating massacre on the days of June 27th and 28th with 25 organizations attending. The event starts June 27 with a political-cultural event and will continue the next day with a caravan that will end with an offering of flowers and holding a mass for the fallen.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen a Bertoldo Martínez activista del FODEG (Medios Informativos , 21 de junio)

BOLETIN DE PRENSA Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad (http://www.contralatortura.org (CCTI, 21 de junio)

Mi arresto no fue por una confusión, se ordenó desde hace tres meses: Bertoldo (La Jornada, 23 de junio)

Condenan organizaciones la detención de Bertoldo y de maestros cetegistas (El Sur de Acapulco, 25 de junio)

No negociaré órdenes de arresto con nadie, advierte Torreblanca Galindo (La Jornada, 23 de junio)

Acción Urgente Amnistía Internacional (22 de junio)

Urge proteger la vida de Raúl Hernández: AI (La Jornada, 22 de junio)

Hernández exige sentencia al Tribunal (La Jornada, 23 de junio)

Carta completa de Raúl Hernandez al Tribunal Superior de Justicia

Llama OCSS a que candidatos no usen matanza de campesinos como foro (La Jornada, 22 de junio)

Asegura OPPEG que habrá un solo acto por la matanza de Aguas Blancas (La Jornada, 24 de junio)


Guerrero briefs: Valentina before the IACHR- Developments in the case of prisoner of conscience Raúl Hernández

June 8, 2010

On 27 May, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) heard in San José, Costa Rica, the case of indigenous woman Valentina Rosendo Cantú, who for eight years has stipulated that she was raped by soldiers in the municipality of Acatepec, Guerrero.  “From the court I hope for justice–I hope that the soldiers be imprisoned, and that the government accept that it indeed was members of the military who abused me,” declared Rosendo to the media during a recess from hearings, during which her testimony was presented in a closed session.  She assured that “the eight years of waiting, of all the suffering, were worth it, because to have arrived here was important.” She added that, after having filed complaints in Mexico, she had received death-threats and was forced to leave her community for fear of reprisal.  She noted that the State has denied recognition of all responsibility for her case.

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), represenative of Rosendo before the IACHR, has criticized that this case is being considered in military tribunal.  According to CEJIL, the Mexican State is in “complete contempt” of a finding made by the Inter-American Court that claims that in Mexico military jurisdiction should not handle investigations of human-rights violations.

This is the second case of its kind for which Mexico finds itself in the dock of the IACHR: last April, the IACHR’s judges considered the case of the Me’phaa indigenous woman Inés Fernández, who denounced her having been abused by soldiers in 2002.  The case has not reached a verdict to date.

On the other hand, a bulletin released by the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) and the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights explains that a judge had found falsehoods in the declarations of the principal accuser against the prisoner of conscience Raúl Hernández, of the OPIM.

The main judge in the case, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, whose offices are located in Ayutla, engaged in an ocular inspection of the Me’phaa community El Camalote that allowed him to verify that both the distance between the home of the primary witness and the location where the reported events purpotedly took place as well as the geographical features of the land together with darkness would not have allowed said witness enough visibility to see what he claims to have seen.

According to the Tlachinollan Center and members of OPIM, this “subtracts from the value of Fidel Remigio’s testimony; accordingly, penal action against Raúl Hernández should desist, as it has been shown once again that he is being held under fabricated charges for his work in defense of the human rights of indigenous peoples.”

For more information (in Spanish):

- Regarding Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Indigenous woman calls for justice from the IACHR (El Universal, 28 May)

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights hears case of Guerrero indigenous woman (La Jornada, 28 May)

- Regarding Raúl Hernández

OPIM/Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights (1 June)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

- Regarding Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Guerrero: Briefs – CECOP demonstrates before Senate/Press-conference on the cases of Inés and Valentina is held (27 May)

- Regarding Raúl Hernández

Guerrero: 2nd anniversary of the imprisonment of Raúl Hernández (Abril 23, 2010)

Guerrero: OPIM members win appeal for legal protection (February 25, 2010)


Guerrero: 2nd anniversary of the imprisonment of Raúl Hernández

April 23, 2010

On April 17, the Tlachinollan-Mountain Human Rights Center released a communiqué to mark the second anniversary of the detention of Raúl Hernández, human rights defender and member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) who,  since his incarceration, has been recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience.

Declaring that Hernández was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, the communiqué states that human-rights organizations marked the day by issuing statements in his support. The Mexico Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights for the United Nations (OHCHR) also issued a press release that called on the Mexican government to observe “international human rights standards” in this case, as in others.

The communiqué states that the detention of Hernández represents part of a repression-policy directed at OPIM.  It also states that Dep. Filemón Navarro and Senator Lázaro Mazón of Guerrero would mark the anniversary by visiting Hernández and demanding his immediate release.

For more information (in Spanish):

Tlachinollan-Mountain Human Rights Center communiqué, 17 April

OHCHR press-release (17 April)

Amnesty International demands release of indigenous leader (La Jornada, 17 April)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero:  4 of the 5 jailed human rights defenders are freed (19 March 2009)


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