On 25 July was held a press-conference at the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) to observe the release of the four prisoners of the San Sebastián Bachajón ejido, municipality of Chilón. For five months Juan Aguilar Guzman, Jeronimo Guzman Mendez, Domingo Perez Alvaro y Domingo Garcia Gomez had found themselves incarcerated in the CERESO 17 in the municipality of Playas de Catazajá. The fifth prisoner, a minor, Mariano Demeza Silvano, had been released on bail on 8 July from the juvenile detention center of Berriozábal.
Marcelino Hernández Gomez, human-rights defender and member of the CDHFBC, spoke of the numerous denunciations of rights-violations of the indigenous of the zone “committed by functionaries at all levels of the state government.” Moreover he expressed that to date no one has been punished at all for the violent acts that occurred at the beginning of February in San Sebastián Bachajón, among those who had been accused. Domingo Pérez Álvaro, one of the formerly imprisoned, explained: “We were imprisoned for nearly six months for having defending our lands. They have been persecuting us now for three years […] because we as ejidatarios and authorities defend our lands and natural resources left to us by our ancestors.”
On 5 February of this year, the State Attorney General’s Office of Chiapas imprisoned 10 ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Other Campaign, among them a minor, following a conflict with PRI militants regarding the control of a checkpoint located at the entrance of the touristic center at the Agua Azul waterfalls.
Víctor Hugo López, director of the CDHFBC, declared that beyond suffering an unjust imprisonment, the five also were subjected to abuses in prison and “experienced one of the worst moments as prisoners of the state.” Although the Tzeltal ejidatarios recovered their physical liberty, noted Hugo López, they are still “prisoners” of a “unilateral process led by the police and Federal Army in their lands, confronting governmental projects that have lacked all consultation with residents.” Juan Aguilar Guzmán, also released, thanked national and international solidarity with prisoners in Tzeltal.
For more information (in Spanish):
Exige el Frayba respeto a las garantías de ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón (Jornada, 27 July 2011)
En conferencia de prensa los ex presos políticos de San Sebastián Bachajón hablan de su liberación (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 25 July 2011)
Palabra de los ex presos y Frayba sobre la liberación de los presos políticos de Bachajón (Radio Zapatista, 25 July 2011)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Chiapas: Caravan of women to San Sebastian Bachajón (25 February 2011)
Chiapas: Agua Azul, new happenings and denunciations (17 February 2011)
Chiapas: update in the Agua Azul case (14 February 2011)
Chiapas: roadblocks and detention of militants in Mitzitón (10 February 2011)