Oaxaca: Demand for the immediate release of Damián Gallardo

Damian_Gallardo_Martinez

In August 2014, the UN Work-Group on Arbitrary Detentions called on the Mexican government to release the indigenous human-rights defender Damián Gallardo Martínez, who is being held in a maximum-security prison in Puente Grande, Jalisco, and so “put an end to this situation of multiple rights-violations,” as well as “provide appropriate means of compensation for this person.”  The resolution was also sent to the Unitary Tribunals based in El Salto, Jalisco, which cover legal motions regarding kidnappings and organized crime

The Committee of Relatives and Friends of Damián Gallardo, the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH-Oaxaca), Services for an Alternative Education (EDUCA), Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca, the New Women’s Collective, and the Oaxacan Citizens’ Initiative make public a communique in which they stress that “both motions [in his favor] are in progress, such that in this strict sense, the resolution is adequate for Damián Gallardo Martínez to be released immediately.  If he continues to be held, the responsibility for his illegal privation of liberty will be in the federal judicial power, for having violated the principles of control of conventionality against the rights-defender.”  Furthermore, they denounced “the permissibility of the actions of the Mexican State, which beyond systematically violating human rights, demonstrate a marked lack of interest in observing its international obligations and repeatedly guard silence in light of the indications and challenges that have been targeting it.  In this sense, we demand the immediate release of Damián Gallardo Martínez.”  They added that the case “effectively shows the systematic practice of criminalizing social protest and imprisoning social activists, practices that each day become more common and evident in the country, as well as the the practices of torture, arbitrary detention, and abuse of the justice system” against human rights-defenders.”

It bears mentioning that Damián Gallardowas arrested on 18 May 2013, accused of having participated in a group of kidnappers supposedly comprised of members of Section 22 and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).  However, in accordance with information provided by the UN Work-Group, it has been shown that “the arrest and detention of Damián Gallardo Martínez are arbitrary” on three distinct levels.  The document also stresses that “the arrest of this person seems to be motivated by the activities in which he has been engaged in service of the indigenous peoples to whom he belongs,” and it notes that the defender signed a confession after “having been subjected to threats, acts of intimidation, and torture.”  As regards the denunciations and evidence presented about other abuses, the experts determined that the allegations of torture must be forwarded to the UN Special Rapporteur.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de Prensa (Educa Oaxaca, 16 de diciembre de 2014)

Llama ONU a Peña a poner en libertad a activista oaxaqueño (Proceso, 16 de diciembre de 2014)

ONU pide a Peña Nieto liberar a Damián Gallardo para poner fin a violaciones múltiples (Página 3, 17 de diciembre de 2014)

Confirma la ONU tortura en contra de profesor oaxaqueño (W Radio, 16 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: 16 months after the imprisonment of Damián Gallardo, and following call from UN, there is no response from the Mexican State (12 October 2014)

Oaxaca/National: Assault on teacher Damián Gallardo in a prison of Jalisco (13 June 2014)

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