- Photo: Especial
Maximino García Catarino, member of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM), was detained on 21 January in the community of Juquila, municipality Ayutla de Los Libres, by ministerial police of Guerrero. He was placed in the custody of a judge, accused of the homicide of a PRI director in the zone which occurred in February 2011, reports the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) had awarded García Catarino precautionary measures due to its conclusion that he ran grave risk following the detention, disappearance, torture, and murder of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rosas, directors of the OFPM, whose bodies were found on 20 February 2009.
Lawyers from the organization have indicated that García Catarino was beaten by his captors: “they interrogated him regarding the whereabouts of other indigenous na savi persons (Mixtecos) and other leaders of the OFPM. When Maximino García Catarino refused to answer, the police kicked and hit him throughout his body.”
Tlachinollan finds the detention of the indigenous man to be “arbitrary,” and it claimed the charge of homicide to be false. The accusation, they said, contains grave irregularitie, and there are obvious contradictions in the testimonies; furthermore, there was deliberate manipulation of the body in question.
Amnesty International (AI) expressed its concern for the detention of the activist, given that there are indication of serious irregularities in the case, among them that he was subjected to torture after being arrested. AI stressed that it has documented cases of indigenous activists in Ayutla de Los Libres, Guerrero, who face false criminal charges and have spent several years in prison, due to the fact that they were denied the right to a fair trial, and this case could be similar.
Tlachinollan has noted that the detention of Maximino García shows the persistence in Guerrero of the “deviant and illegitimate utilization of the institutions of justice to persecute and criminalize human-rights defenders.” It also indicates that this act occurred in a moment of open deterioration of the human-rights situation in the state. It claims as well that the defense of García Catarino has presented the declarations of three witnesses who assert that the suspect was working communally for his community at the precise hour and date of the murder.
A delegation from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico visited the Mixteco indigenous man. The objective of the visit was to document the situation in which he finds himself as well as to assess the presumed rights-violations he has suffered following his arrest.
On 27 January, upon the termination of the 144-hour limit for detention as established in the Constitution, the penal judge from the Allende juridical district (municipal head of Ayutla de Los Libres) sentenced Maximino García Catarino to further jail time. The Mixteco activist has thus been deprived of his liberty by a penal process that accuses him of a crime that he did not commit.
For more information (in Spanish):
Activista de la OFPM, detenido a pesar de medidas cautelares (La Jornada, 26 January 2012)
Reprueba Amnistía Internacional detención de activista en Guerrero(Proceso, 25 January 2012)
Emprende Tlachinollan campaña urgente para liberar a líder indígena(La Jornada de Guerrero, 26 January 2012)
ACCIÓN URGENTE: Un defensor indígena de los derechos humanos se enfrenta a un jucio injusto (CDH Tlachinollan y Amnisitia Internacional, 26 January 2012)
Arrestan a defensor de DH protegido por la CIDH en Guerrero (La Jornada en Linea, 25 January 2012)
Detención arbitraria del Sr. Maximino García Catarino – MEX 002 / 0112 / OBS 013 (FIDH, 26 January 2012)
Seguridad y protección para Maximino García, defensor de derechos humanos mixteco (Red TDT, 25 January 2012)
México: Detención arbitraria del Sr. Maximino García Catarino(Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura, 26 January 2012)
Piden Amnistía Internacional y Misereor la libertad del dirigente mixteco de Ayutla (El Sur de Acapulco, 26 January 2012)
ONG piden juicio justo para activista de Guerrero (El Universal, 26 January 2012)
Visitan enviados de la ONU a activista preso (La Jornada, 27 January 2012)
Dictan Auto de Foral Prisión a Maximino Defensor Indígena en Guerrero (CDH Tlachinollan, 27 January 2012)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Guerrero: briefs – Attack on OPFM leader (3 September 2011)
Guerrero: Leader of the OFPM liberated (25 June 2011)