Cuauthemoc Ramírez, president of the OPIM
Natalio Ortega Cruz, Romualdo Santiago Enedina, Raúl Hernández Abundio, Orlando Manzanarez Lorenzo and Manuel Cruz Victoriano, all human rights defenders and members of the Me Phaa Indigenous Peoples’ Organization (OPIM, Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me Phaa) were arrested April 18, 2008 in Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero. All five were detained at a military roadblock in accordance with an arrest warrant for a homicide committed on January 1 of this year. In addition there are arrest warrants out for 10 other members of the OPIM, including the organization’s president, Cuauthemoc Ramírez.
According to a report from Amnesty International, their has been no progress on the investigatin of the murder since April 10, when the body of the victim was exhumed. The following day 15 arrest warrants were issued for the members of OPIM and the five previously mentioned individuals werearrested. According to the Human Rights Center of the Montaña “Tlachinollan” (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña “Tlachinollan”), although there is no evidence against the five individuals arrested, they have been held in prison for nearly two months.
OPIM has worked on behalf of the defense of indigenous rights within the communities of Ayutla de los Libres and Acatepec, Costa-Montaña, Guerrero since 2002. The organization has suffered numerous threats and attacks for years, especially since they began actively demanding justice in the cases of two women, Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú who were raped by members of the Mexican Army in 2002 (see México: Mujeres indígenas e injusticia militar, AMR 41/033/2004) as well as the case of the forced sterilization of 14 Me Phaa indigenous people in the community of El Camalote in 1998.In addition, February 9, the body of Lorenzo Fernández Ortega, a member of OPIM and brother of Inés Fernández Ortega was found in the region (see AU 49/08, AMR 41/005/2008, February 22, 2008).