Chiapas: Three of the remaining five prisoners held for the Acteal massacre are released

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Abejas of Acteal (@SIPAZ archive)

Nearly 17 years after the Acteal massacre, the Supreme Court for Justice in the Nation (SCJN) decided to release three of the remaining five Tsotsil indigenous individuals imprisoned in the Amate prison for their participation in the Acteal massacre.

The massacre took place on 22 December 1997, when 45 members of the Las Abejas of Acteal organization were killed, the majority being women and children.

The three who have been released had requested an official recognition of innocence, which was granted to them based on criteria stipulated by the SCJN in 2008, when it ordered the release of dozens of prisoners for the first time, having decided that the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) used illegal evidence in its investigation, thus violating the right of the accused to due process.  For their part, Las Abejas expressed that “if for the SCJN there are no guilty ones, if all the paramilitaries who have been sentenced are in fact innocent, then we demand that they give us back the lives of our martyrs, and that they present our children and parents who were shot to death on 22 December 1997 with life.”  They added that “other than for the government, it will be the SCJN that will be responsible for any conflict that results from the release of these paramilitaries, because the social fabric has been degraded and destroyed.  It has not been repaired, such that there are no conditions that would guarantee the non-repetition of the acts.”

In sum, 102 indigenous persons were processed for the killing of 45 members of the Las Abejas community, in addition to 4 unborn children, and they began to be released in 2008, after having advanced legal motions before the federal authorities.  Now, only two people remain imprisoned for the massacre.

For more information (in Spanish):

La justicia en México es un teatro: Sobrevivientes de Acteal, Chiapas Paralelo, 18 de noviembre de 2014

Ordena la Corte liberar a tres tzotziles vinculados con la masacre de Acteal, Proceso, 12 de noviembre de 2014

Ordena la SCJN la liberación de tres sentenciados por la masacre de Acteal, La Jornada, 13 de noviembre de 2014

Acteal: consagración de la impunidad, La Jornada, 13 de noviembre de 2014

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: indigenous organizations and communities also affected by “counterinsurgency and war of extermination” express their solidarity with the EZLN (9 June 2014)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society challenges Mexican justice system and continues demanding justice (May 2, 2014)

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