Chiapas: Chiapas prisoners held in Tabasco begin hunger strike

April 22, 2008

In a communiqué released April 21 by the Committee of Ex-Political Prisoners and Their Families and the Commission of Relatives of the Unjustly Imprisoned and Political Prisoners it was reported that Pérez Gutiérrez and Pérez Vázquez, two Zapatista supporters who are being held in the Municipal Public Prisonl of Tacotalpa, Tabasco, were to begin a hunger strike the same day to demand their release.

For more information:

Communiqué from the relatives of political prisoners and ex-political prisoners in Spanish:



Oaxaca: APPO councillor, Flavio Sosa, released

April 22, 2008

Press Conference held by Flavio Sosa in the teacher’s hotel [Source: Oaxaca en Pié de Lucha]

After a year and a half in prison, Flavio Sosa Villavicencio, a councillor of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), has been released.

The APPO councillor was arrested on December 4, 2006, by agents of the Federal Preventative Police (PFP) in Mexico City, the day before he was to participate in an APPO commission dialogue with the administration of Felipe Calderón. He was later held in the maximum security prison “Altiplano,” in Almoloya de Juárez in the state of Mexico. In August 2007 he was transfered from Altiplano to a regional detention facility in Cuicatlán.

In an interview with the Oaxacan newspaper Noticias, Sosa Villavicencio’s lawyer, López Jiménez, stated that his client was released because of “the strength of the Oaxacan people” and the disappearance of evidence brought before local judges with regard to the criminal trials 70/2006, 71/2006 and 136/2006 for the crimes of robbery and damages to the Roads and Runways of Oaxaca (CAO); for kidnapping, robbery and assault against agents of the State Ministerial Police and for the crime of looting the Oaxaca Radio and Television Corporation (Cortv).

For more information:

“Leader in Oaxaca protests freed” (Associated Press, 20/04/2008)

For more information in Spanish:

Sale libre Flavio Sosa (Noticias, 20/04/2008)

Conferencia de Flavio Sosa en el hotel del magisterio (Oaxaca en Pié de Lucha, 20/04/2008)

Oaxaca: UNHCR and IACHR condemn assassination of two of Copala’s community radio announcers

April 18, 2008

Noticias/El Universal]

The victims, Teresa Bautista Merino and Felícitas Martínez Sánchez [Source: Noticias/El Universal]

On April 7, two indigenous Triqui women from the community radio station Radio Copala‑The Voice which Breaks the Silence were assassinated in a shooting ambush. The crime occurred in the town of San Juan Copala in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, where the women were planning to participate in the State Gathering for the Defense of the Rights of the Indigenous People of Oaxaca.

The victims of the double homicide were Teresa Bautista Merino, aged 24 años, and Felícitas Martínez Sánchez, aged 20. As a result of the same attack, three others were wounded: Francisco Vásquez Martínez (30), his wife Cristina Martínez Flores (22), and their three-year-old son Jaciel Vásquez Martínez.

In a communiqué dated April 8, the Center for Community Support Working Together condemned the murders and demanded “a thorough investigation of the facts” and “appropriate punishment for the material and intellectual authors who have attacked the freedom of expression of our indigenous communities.” They assert that “once again we are experiencing events related to Oaxaca’s climate of violence and repression, always covered up by authorities at all levels.”

The Triqui community, according to reports in several newspapers on April 16, accuses certain leaders of the Popular Unity party of being the intellectual authors of the crime. They attribute the reason for the assassination to the radio station’s repeated denouncements of corruption in the area.

On 17 April, Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS publicly condemned the assassinations.

Previously, on March 27, 2007, the Special Rapporteur published a Special Study on the Assassination of Journalists (in Spanish only). This report highlighted that the majority of such cases occur in Colombia, Brazil and Mexico.

More information:

Chiapas: Detainees in CERESO #14 “El Amate” end hunger strike

April 7, 2008


As of Saturday April 5, the eight detainees continued to maintain their hunger strike in CERESO #14, known as “El Amate” in Cintalapa issued a communiqué stating that they were terminating the strike. The group of seven men and one woman made the decision in response to a letter written by the Emeritus Bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Samuel Ruiz García. Other sources also indicate that the detainees in CERESO #5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas have taken the same option. A further consequence of the letter has been the removal of the sit-in maintained at the State Government buildings in Tuxtla Gutiérrez since March 24 by family members of the detainees.

More information:

Tabasco: Detainees still held in the Municipal Public Prison in Tacotalpa, Tabasco

April 4, 2008

Ángel Concepción Pérez Gutiérrez

Ángel Concepción Pérez Gutiérrez and Francisco Pérez Vázquez, Source:

Ángel Concepción Pérez Gutiérrez (age 44) and Francisco Pérez Vázquez (age 74) from the community of Guapacal in the municipality of Tila, Chiapas, were detained and charged with the murder of Florentino Hernández López on July 9, 1996, and each sentenced to 25 year prison terms. The murder took place on November 16, 1995, as the result of a territorial dispute between two ejidos on either side of the Chiapas-Tabasco border, Tutzil (Chiapas) and Agua Blanca (Tabasco).

The case brought against the two indigenous Ch’ol men was fraught with irregularities, including some which constitute human rights violations. Among these is the right to valid reasoning and legal grounds with regards to one’s judgment, as stated in articles 14 and 16 of the Mexican Constitution. In this case, the sole witness originally claimed he could not identify the perpetrators and later changed his testimony claiming psychiatric distress at the time of his original statement, although there was no hard evidence to sustain his claim.

Both men have been held in substandard conditions, and have stated that they are forced to sleep on the floor and are subject to flooding during rainy periods. Pérez Gutiérrez has been in ill health for the past three years, suffering from a serious infection for which he reportedly has not received medical attention. Meanwhile, Pérez Vázquez’s advanced age and diabetes has created health complications for him as well. The two men have been in solidarity with the huger strikers held in prisons in Chiapas, commencing a fast March 24. However, due to their ill health they have decided to cancel the fast as of April 3. While they are no longer able to continue with the strike, Pérez Gutiérrez and Pérez Vázquez offer an example of the circumstances faced by detainees throughout Mexico, a situation which has inspired the hunger strike that continues in Chiapas.

Pérez Gutiérrez and Pérez Vázquez were not among the 30 detainees participating the hunger strike who were released Monday, March 31 as that release only pertained to those detained in the state of Chiapas. However, the zapatista Good Government Council known as Roberto Barrios issued a communiqué March 25, demanding the immediate release of the detainees in Tabasco and reparations for suffering endured on the part of Pérez Gutiérrez, Pérez Vázquez and their families.

For more information:

Zapatista communique from La Voz de Cerro Hueco, Tabasco (, 2003)

For more information in Spanish

Caso de los señores Ángel Concepción Pérez Gutiérrez y Francisco Pérez Vázquez (, 2007)

¡Exigimos la libertad de los compañeros Ángel Concepción Pérez Gutiérrez y Francisco Pérez! (, 2006)

Denuncia de la Junta de Buen Gobierno Roberto Barrios por los detenidos en Tacotalpa, Chiapas

Chiapas: SIPAZ interviews Alberto Patishtan Gómez, hunger-striking detainee in “El Amate”

April 3, 2008

[Interview, in Spanish, with Alberto Patishtan Gómez.]

Alberto Patishtan Gómez was arrested in the year 2000, charged with planning and executing an armed ambush in which seven police officers were killed in the municipality of El Bosque, Chiapas. Despite his claims of innocence, and the numerous irregularities presented in his case, Mr Patishtan Gómez was sentenced to a term of 60 years in the high security prison “El Amate”, in the town of Cintalapa, Chiapas.

SIPAZ recently conducted a telephone interview with Alberto Patishtan Gómez, who since February 26 has maintained a hunger strike together with other prisoners in El Amate. He commented that in his eight years of detention, this was the third hunger strike to demand his freedom: “this is the third strike, and it’s the definitive one”. After 36 days of hunger strike he was already suffering from symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and “seeing stars” when he shut his eyes.

The detainee, a member of the group “The Voice of El Amate,” informed SIPAZ that he was ready to give up his life for freedom, and that he preferred “to die on [his] feet, and not the way the government would like; [he refuses] to kneel before the government.” He stated that the hunger strike came from his “love for freedom, for social struggle, for the poor, ” and went on to say that “in this state we can’t speak of justice when arrest warrants are issued or changed based on confessions extracted under torture”.

In the list of detainees who were released on Monday March 31, Alberto Patishtan Gómez’s name did not appear. He was informed that as his charges were laid at a federal level, the Chiapas government had no say in the matter. However, Mr Patishtan Gómez recognized that those who were released owed their freedom to the political pressure from social organizations, and urged people to continue contacting Mexican authorities and those in their own country, demanding the release of those who remain detained.

Chiapas: Interview with Diego Cadenas Gordillo (Frayba) about the hunger-striking detainees.

April 3, 2008


Diego Cadenas Gordillo, Legal Defense Director of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba)

On April 1, 2008, in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, SIPAZ interviewed Diego Cadenas Gordillo, lawyer and Director of Defense in the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) and designated legal representative of the detainees on hunger strike.

To read an English transcript of the interview click here.

To view the video of the interview with Diego Cadenas Gordillo go to the SIPAZ blog in Spanish