Chiapas: the eight indigenous tzeltales of San Sebastián Bachajón are moved to El Amate

On May 1, the eight indigenous tzeltales from the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, who have been under arraigo (pre-charge detention) for 19 days in the house of arraigo “Quinta Pitiquitos”, were brought before a judge in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and later, moved to the State Center for Social Rehabilitation No. 14, El Amate, (CERSS No. 14, El Amate) in the municipality of Cintalapa. According to information from the Chiapas State Attorney General (PGJE) criminal charges of violence and organized robbery were brought against the six adherents to the Other Campaign, one Zapatista support base, and one other man not linked to any organization.

In addition, their photographs were published again in the media, identified as members of “criminal group, dedicated to attacking cars on the highway between Ocosingo and Palenque”, which is a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed presumption of innocence, and in addition stigmatizes them in the civil society. The Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de las Casas (CDHFBC) stated that “there exist many violations of due process in their judicial process, the most serious being the lack of a translator in their language, because of which the 8 detainees were forced to sign documents without knowing their content, which resulted in them signing declarations of guilt, not forgetting that 7 of them declared themselves guilty while being tortured”.

According to the investigation and documentation of the CDHFBC, the “systematic use of torture” especially while people are being moved, during arraigo, and while giving a formal statement, shows serious flaws in the protection and respect for the human rights of those under suspicion of having committed a crime in the state of Chiapas.

For More Information (in Spanish):

Denuncian abusos legales de autoridades chiapanecas en contra de ocho indígenas, La Jornada (3/5/2009)

Tras 19 días de detención arbitraria, consignan ante Juez a los ocho indígenas tseltales de la región Agua Azul, boletín Frayba (4/5/2009)

More Infromation from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: press conference regarding the events in the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, SIPAZ Blog, 4/30.

Chiapas: Urgent Action: Concern for the lives and judicial situation of detainees. Criminalization of social protest and of the work of human rights defenders, SIPAZ Blog, 4/28.

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