Chiapas: Prisoner forced to transfer to maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit

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On October 16th Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez (“Don Chema”) was unexpectedly transferred to a maximum-security prison in Tepic, Nayarit. The transfer was done with a strong police presence, with state and federal police assisting in moving him from El Amate, the prison in Chiapas where he had been held since his detention on September 30th.

The Chiapas government sub-secretary, Nemesio Ponce Sanchez, confirmed the transfer to the prisoner’s family and friends, who had not been informed in advance. The sub-secretary said the transfer of Hernandez Martinez was “for his own security.” The sub-secretary also said anybody wishing to visit him in the far-away state would be eligible for airline tickets paid for by the government.

In a public statement the Campesina Organization Emiliano Zapata (OCEZ), based in the Carranza region, brought attention to the transfer of Don Chema and the deaths of two cooperative landowners who were present during the arrest of their leader (the first died immediately, the other on October 17th.) According to OCEZ “the saddest part of this situation is that from the beginning our organization signed agreements of political civility and governability… and during this process they detained Jose Manuel Hernandez Martinez. We started a series of actions against the state government because for us, his arrest was a betrayal of the agreements signed.” The statement concluded by saying, “Given the situation, we place responsibility on Governor Juan Sabines because this is a blow to our organization and to social struggle in the state of Chiapas.”

For the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas, this transfer represents a “way to punish him and his family.” They denounced this action and said “the State violated the Principles and Best Practices for People Deprived of Freedom in the Americas, which states that transfers of incarcerated people should be authorized and supervised by competent authorities who will respect, in all circumstances, dignity and fundamental rights and who will take into account the need for incarcerated people to be in locations near their families, communities and legal representatives… Transfers should not be done with the intention to punish, reprimand or discriminate against incarcerated persons, their families or friends.”

In a communiqué the National Front for the Fight for Socialism reported Hernandez Martinez’s transfer “is due to political revenge and wanting to put him in solitary confinement like they did in CERSS 14 El Amate, which goes against his constitutional and human rights as well as due process.”

For more information:

Boletín de prensa de la OCEZ-Región Carranza

Boletín del Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas: Traslado Forzoso de José Manuel Hernández Martínez, líder de la OCEZ

Boletín informativo del FNLS sobre traslado arbitrario de José Manuel Hernández Martínez (Chema) al penal de máxima seguridad de Nayarit.

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: OCEZ leader from the Venustiano Carranza Region captured

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