Chiapas: Judicial Harassment of Human-Rights Defender

Manifestación Consejo Autónomo dela Costa (@CDH Digna Ochoa)

On 18 June, the Observation-Institution for the Protection of Human Rights, which is associated with the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), requested the intervention of the Mexican government in light of acts of judicial harassment against Nataniel Hernández, director of the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center, in the coastal region of Chiapas.

On 11 June, Nataniel Hernández was called before the Public Ministry; he arrived on the 15th, there to be informed that an investigation had been undertaken into his participation in a road-block in the municipality of Pijijiapan in April.  This road-block had been organized by several community organizations engaging in civil resistance against high electricty-prices; they form the Autonomous Regional Council of the Coastal Zone of Chiapas.  During the interrogation that lasted three hours, Hernández admitted having been presented at the road-block, given that “in his capacity as director of the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center, […] his presence as an observer had been requested, so that he could document any rights-violation that could occur during the event”.

In a joint communiqué, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human-Rights Center and the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center find that “the investigations of the Federal Attorney General’s Office in the city of Arriaga, Chiapas, constitute acts of harassment against Mr. Nataniel, linked to his work in defense and promotion of human rights.  We fear that the Federal Public Minister Angel Sandoval Lara turn the case over the corresponding judge and concurrently request an arrest-order against the director of the Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Joint bulletin Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center, Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human-Rights Center (16 June)

Urgent Action from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH, 17 June)

Digna Ochoa Human-Rights Center Blog

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