Atenco: repression in San Salvador Atenco, 4 years on

On 3 May, four years passed since the police operations against residents of San Salvador Atenco and Texcoco, in the state of Mexico, which took place on 3 and 4 May 2006.  The Supreme Court of Justice for the Nation (SCJN) recognized in February 2009 that grave violations of the basic liberties of the residents of the region had been committed during these acts.  It should be remembered that the police arrested more than 200 people, of whom 12 still remain imprisoned. Indeed, just as the anniversary approached, the three principal leaders of the Popular Front for the Defense of the Land of Atenco (FPDT)–Ignacio del Valle Medina, Felipe Álvarez, and Héctor Galindo, who are being held in the Altiplano prison under 112-year (Del Valle) and 67-year (Álvarez and Galindo) sentences, were notified of new arrest orders filed against them.

On the other hand, the SCJN ruling recognized that police had utilized public force in excessive and brutal fashion in many ways, such as the sexual torture of 28 women.  Accompanied by the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Center for Human Rights (Centro Prodh), 11 women have denounced their being-subjected to sexual torture by means of a petition since April 2008 to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  On 10 December 2009, the IACHR presented the petition to the Mexican government, granting them 2 months to present their observations.  To date, the state has failed to produce any sort of response.

During an event held in Mexico City on 3 May, Alberto Herrera, director of Amnesty International-Mexico, claimed that “After four years since the events that took place in San Salvador Atenco, where 240 people were arrested and 28 women raped by police, we are here so as not to forget, to declare that the only way forward is through the realization of justice.” Since 2 May, activities in commemoration of the repression in San Salvador Atenco have been held.  A sit-in was maintained during 3 and 4 May, while other actions took place in Mexico City and other Mexican cities.

Finally, the third phase of the Campaign for Liberty and Justice for Atenco was launched.  The communiqué announcing this initiative emphasizes that “Our 12 prisoners, together with all Mexican political prisoners, are hurt.  Atenco represents an emblematic national case.  It represents the application and creation of new crimes, such as kidnapping, an arbitrary offense that can be employed against social struggle as a tool of control and repression.  The repressive operations in Atenco symbolize, moreover, impunity, tyranny through violence, and illegality practiced by the State.  Atenco represents an open wound for the entirety of the country, all civil society, and all those who sturggle for liberty and justice.”

Beyond demanding that the SCJN rule in favor of the immediate annulment of the sentences of the 12 prisoners, the communiqué calls for actions of information-distribution, mobilization, and non-violent protest as part of a campaign to be held during May and June.  For its part, the organizing community announced multiple activities and called for July 7 to be celebrated as “a global day of action for the liberty of the political prisoners of Atenco.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Amnesty International and other NGOs demand justice and punishment of those responsible for the events in Atenco (La Jornada, 3 de mayo)

New arrest orders for Del Valle, Álvarez, and Galidno are announced (La Jornada, 3 de mayo)

Without justification, three imprisoned from Atenco held in a maximum-security prison (La Jornada, 3 de mayo)

Atenco leaders claimed to be responsible for more crimes (El Universal, 3 de mayo)

Incomplete, an IAHCR petition regarding rape and torture of women of Atenco (La Jornada, 4 de mayo)

Bishop Vera calls on SCJN to free Atenco prisoners (El Universal, 4 de mayo)

Declaration 4 years after the repressive acts in San Salvador Atenco.  Announcement of the third phase of the Campaign for Liberty and Justice for Atenco (Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra, Comité Libertad y Justicia para Atenco)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Atenco: the Campaign “Liberty and Justice for Atenco” begins (24 February 2009)

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