Chiapas: Julión Alvarez Threatens to Sue Media and Frayba; Chiapas Paralelo Denounces “Erosion of Freedom of Expression”

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On September 20th, it was announced that the singer Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo, better known as Julion Alvarez, threatened to sue the news website ‘Chiapas Paralelo’ and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba), for denouncing alleged bribery the artist to arrest and sentence Sergio Alberto Gonzalez Castro to six years in prison. The legal representative of the artist reported that, “We have been instructed by Mr. Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo to exercise any legal action against those who have made the accusations that are attributed to him (…) We consider that what is disclosed in the aforementioned news items constitutes damage to the honor, reputation and private life of our client. ‘We will not tolerate injury or insult’; whoever causes damage will have to make reparations and whoever is responsible will have to assume the consequences of their actions.”

Sergio Alberto Gonzalez Castro was accused of stealing cattle at the artist’s ranch in the municipality of La Concordia. According to the relatives of Gonzalez Castro, “there was never any cattle theft, the influence of Julion Alvares (sic) with Governor Manuel Velasco meant that for cattle they detained several people, in total they are like 18 people accused of cattle theft.” The report issued by Chiapas Paralelo website states that Sergio Alberto Gonzalez Castro was arrested in 2015 and, according to Frayba, he was subjected to physical and psychological torture for three days by public officials, to plead guilty to the crimes of those who accused him.

In light of what happened, on September 21st, the editorial team of Chiapas Paralelo considered the letter issued by the legal department of Julio Cesar Alvarez Montelongo “slanderous”, “to make use of qualifiers such as “irresponsible remarks”,”injury” and “insult.” It stated that “it is implicit in an attempt to intimidate journalists and human rights organizations”, which “entails an erosion of the right to freedom of expression.”

Due to this, Chiapas Paralelo called on national and international organizations that defend freedom of expression and the rights of journalists and human rights defenders “so that, within the scope of their competencies, they may initiate an investigation into these events. We believe that in a scenario such as Mexico, where in recent years 118 journalists have been killed in possible connection to their journalistic work, the statements made by the legal representative of the singer Julion Alvarez place us in a situation of even greater risk coming from a person who has been singled out by governments of other nations, to have links with groups that are outside the law. We ask the governor of the state of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, to be guarantor of respect for freedom of expression in the state, and that no personal connection that he has should be a cause to take on actions outside the law.”

For more information in Spanish:

Julión Álvarez amenaza al Frayba y al portal de noticias Chiapas Paralelo (Proceso, 21 de septiembre de 2018)

Denunciamos intento del cantante Julión Álvarez, por amedrentar a periodistas y organizaciones defensoras de derechos humanos, causando un menoscabo a la libertad de expresión (Comunicado de prensa, Chiapas Paralelo, 21 de septiembre de 2018)

Periodistas de Chiapas Paralelo acusan a Julión Álvarez de amenazarlos (Sin embargo, 21 de septiembre de 2018)

Amenaza Julión Álvarez con demandar a medios y un centro de Derechos Humanos (SDP Noticias, 21 de septiembre de 2018)

Libertad para Sergio Alberto González Castro #ContraLaTortura (Frayba, 13 de septiembre de 2018)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Heraldo de Chiapas Journalist Murdered in Yajalon (Sept. 27th, 2018)

 

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