Chiapas: Six Prisoners Resume Indefinite Hunger Strike in San Cristobal and Comitan Prisons

May 17, 2019

Hunger strike@SIPAZ

On May 13th, a press conference was held by the organizations The Voice of Indigenous in Resistance (La Voz de Indigenas en Resistencia), The True Voice of Amate (La Voz Verdadera del Amate) and Viniketik in Resistance (Viniketik en Resistencia), their families, the working group No Estamos Todxs and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights to announce the resumption of an indefinite hunger strike by six people “in the absence of an adequate response from the government.” Six indigenous prisoners had begun a hunger strike on March 15th this year, demanding their immediate release and denouncing the conditions of life inside the prison in terms of food, health, security and justice. Shortly after, another seven prisoners joined the strike.

In a subsequent press conference, on April 12th, they announced that their hunger strike became a partial fast while a negotiating table with the government was opened. However, this process did not prosper: “We make public that our relatives and we have been the object of mockery and object of lies on the part of the Government by named: Ismael Brito Mazariegos together with the President of the Reconciliation Table, because last April 15th they asked our relatives to lift the hunger strike in exchange for the review of our files and followed by our freedom, but we gave an “show of trust” demonstrating our trust by making the strike a fast, eating every three days, so that a period of 20 working days was given. The Reconciliation Board emphasized that it would take them ten days, but like any official they do not care about our physical health, but we have not seen satisfactory answers from them.” The prisoners added that “they have faced discrimination and have witnessed that the government did not comply with the necessary measures to guarantee access to justice” and that “they do not have an adequate defense, because they are in a situation of cultural, social and economic marginalization.”

In addition, they questioned the absence of an “in-depth investigation” of the accusations of torture and fabrication of files that is “an everyday practice” and “habitual with which it locks people up and that immediately dismantles all that discourse of ‘Rule of Law’ with which fill the mouth and bags (sic.).”” The State seeks to perpetuate torture with its denial,” they denounced.

The conference took place 18 days after the presentation of the “Alternative Report of Civil Society Organizations of Mexico” before the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN) on torture in Mexico. This report confirms that “there are structural causes, scale and specific characteristics of torture committed against indigenous people and peoples.” The UNCAT will present its conclusions on May 17th.

For more information in Spanish:

Comunicado de regreso a la huelga de hambre ante la falta de respuesta adecuada del gobierno (Grupo de trabajo No estamos Todxs el 14 de mayo de 2019)

Inician presos huelga de hambre en Chiapas (El Universal el 13 de mayo de 2019)

Reos indígenas reinician huelga de hambre; alegan detención ilegal y tortura (El Proceso el 14 de mayo de 2019)

Denuncias por tortura no se investigan en Chiapas (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas el 13 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Little Progress 60 Days after Start of Hunger Strike in Various Sate Prisons (May 15, 2019)

Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike (May 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Chiapas Prisoners Enter Fourth Week of Hunger Strike (April 8, 2019)

Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike (March 24, 2019)

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Little Progress 60 Days after Start of Hunger Strike in Various Sate Prisons

May 15, 2019

Hunger strikePrisoners’ relatives (@“No estamos todxs” Working Group)

On May 7th, the “No estamos todxs” Working Group published a statement on the situation of prisoners on hunger strike almost 60 days after starting it.

It recalled that on March 6th, six prisoners in different prisons of the State of Chiapas initiated this action demanding “justice and immediate and unconditional release,” with seven more inmates initiating an indefinite strike three days later. At the same time, relatives and friends, ex-prisoners and different civil and social organizations began “dissemination, accompaniment and denunciation activities, adding to the same demands.”

The Working Group again denounced that “the legal processes of these people are plagued by irregularities and serious violations of their human rights. Arbitrary arrests without arrest warrants, humiliation of dignity, fabrication of crimes, statements extracted under torture, lack of translator, loss of files, violation of the right to an adequate defense, delays of up to 14 years in obtaining a sentence, lack of presence of the accusatory party, among others.”

Before the strike, the state government opened a dialogue process between March 20th and 29th to address the following issues: review and study of the files and files; improvements in the conditions of the strikers (ending isolation, degrading treatment, threats and coercion); as well as investigation and immediate, effective and adequate documentation of the cases of allegations of torture. The relatives left the negotiating table after that, noting in a press conference “the discrimination they felt on the part of government interlocutors and the lack of real interest in solving the demand for freedom.” They demanded the state and federal government to create a “suitable space, with competent authorities and decision-making capacity that could fully meet the demands of this process of struggle”

On April 10th, a new process of dialogue began in which the state government asked to review the files without additional “pressure” from the strikers. By that time, 20 people were participating in the process, and “symbolically” agreed to give the authorities 20 days to show progress, a deadline that ends on May 13th. Meanwhile the strikers decided to eat food every third day “so that their agency has the capacity to return to the hunger strike in case their demands are not heard.”

The Working Group affirmed that to date “beyond the administrative management of the conflict itself, there has been no progress in concrete responses. Alluding to the workload, the holiday period, the difficulty of the agenda and communication problems with other agents necessary for progress, they have been delaying the processes and avoiding giving concrete answers about the real situation of the evolution of the procedures to find a solution to the conflict.”

It is worried that, “there is nothing to suggest an exit other than the extreme action of a hunger strike demanding justice and freedom. Everything points to the integrity, health, safety, life of these people, as well as their freedom, it is not something that is on the agenda of the government. The changes, of which they boast so much in their speeches, do not seem to coincide with the reality of their actions and that the only alternative in the search for justice is to risk life to try to achieve it.”

For more information in Spanish:

A casi 60 días del inicio de la huelga de hambre en los penales del Estado de Chiapas y sin respuestas concretas en la resolución del conflicto (Grupo de Trabajo “No estamos todxs”, 7 de mayo de 2019)

Sin respuesta, presos indígenas se mantienen en huelga de hambre (Sie7e de Chiapas, 8 de mayo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike (May 7, 2019)

Chiapas: Chiapas Prisoners Enter Fourth Week of Hunger Strike (April 8, 2019)

Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike (March 24, 2019)


Chiapas: Press Conference for Prisoners on Hunger Strike

May 7, 2019

Hunger strike.png@SIPAZ

On April 12th, 30 days after the beginning of the hunger strike by 13 prisoners in several prisons in Chiapas, a press conference took place in the cathedral square of San Cristobal de Las Casas, which was convened by the working group “No Estamos Todxs”, the relatives of the prisoners and the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights.

After a month of consuming only water and honey, the state of the health of the participants on the strike is getting worse. To date, all have lost “between seven and 12 kilos”, some suffering from “prolonged diarrhea” for the quality of honey “at least questionable” according to the families of the prisoners. “We have witnessed firsthand the physical and emotional deterioration of our colleagues. (…) How their faces was transformed, their expression, how their skin was losing color and each time they felt colder due to lack of calories and how each time the fatigue was stronger and more devastating”, informs the working group “No estamos todxs”

They also report several repressive measures suffered by the prisoners. The detainees in the CERSS # 14 are in “semi-isolation” that “does not allow them access to the internal visits of other prisoners, or go out to the patio to take the sun or walk.” In addition to denouncing the lack of attention to several health problems, they also pointed out that several attempts have been made to “persuade prisoners on hunger strike to give up their action, even with repression and beatings, as on March 30th, when the striking prisoners Marcelino Ruiz Gomez and Valdemar Gomez Hernandez of CERSS # 10 suffered an aggression after sewing their mouth.”

Regarding their demands, the prisoners have proposed “to have direct and effective dialogue with a resolutive capacity that could meet the demand for immediate freedom that our colleagues request (…) And it is 20 days that our colleagues want to give so that this negotiating table can carry out the task of studyig the case files.” For the moment, “they are going to turn the hunger strike into a partial fast while waiting for the results, staying even firmer, if that is possible, in the struggle for their freedom”, but “they will return, if needed, with all the strength and determination that is necessary (…) they will not stop, they will not give up, they will not surrender.”

For more information in Spanish:

Palabras de la conferencia de prensa (No estamos todxs, 12 de abril de 2019)

Trece indígenas presos en Chiapas suman 26 días en huelga de hambre (Animal Político, 10 de abril de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Presos en Chiapas cumplen tres semanas en huelga de hambre (El 5 de abril de 2019)

Chiapas: Ya suman 13 los presos en huelga de hambre, 21/3/2019

Chiapas : seis presos indígenas inician huelga de hambre (16 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Liberan a Diego López Méndez, preso de la organización Solidarios de la Voz del Amate (13 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Luego de 10 años de Encarcelamiento es liberado Alfredo Goméz Lopez, Víctima de Tortura (21 de febrero de 2019)

Chiapas: Indígenas presos en San Cristóbal de Las Casas exigen revisión de sus expedientes (4 de enero de 2019)


Chiapas: Chiapas Prisoners Enter Fourth Week of Hunger Strike

April 8, 2019

Presos

The 13 prisoners on hunger strike in different prisons in Chiapas have now entered their fourth week on this protest. Their health situation is deteriorating: “German Lopez Montejo, a prisoner on hunger strike, is suffering from fainting due to low blood glucose levels. The Working Group No Estamos Todxs claims that in the CERSS # 14 (Amate Prison) the prisoners are not ingesting the minimum amount of honey for survival because the prison authorities have retained it [their supply].”

On April 4th, SIPAZ visited the inmates of The Voice of Indigenous in Resistance (La Voz de Indigenas en Resistencia) and Supporters of the Voice of Amate (Solidarios de La Voz de Amate). Both are located in CERRS # 5 in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

The reasons for their protest are that they declare themselves innocent of the crimes of which they are accused, and that they were forced to plead guilty under torture. They began their hunger strike to demand their freedom.

Furthermore, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights published a document on March 22nd denouncing that “the 13 people deprived of their liberty began a hunger strike inside prisons to denounce human rights violations they live daily in the penitentiary centers where they are held, as well as to proclaim their innocence given the unfair trials in which they are being prosecuted. It is important to point out that they have denounced torture and cruel inhuman and/or degrading treatment since the moment of their arrest, 12 of them are indigenous Tsotsiles.

The 13 prisoners on hunger strike have indicated that they constantly receive threats and harassment from the prison authorities to give up their protest.

We request that the personal integrity of the 13 persons deprived of their liberty who are on hunger strike be respected and that they be treated in accordance with their dignity and that due respect for fundamental rights be respected.

We urge the authorities of the state of Chiapas to immediately cease acts of threats and intimidation, as well as acts of punishment that constitute torture and cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment. “

The people who are on hunger strike are: Abraham Lopez Montejo and German Lopez Montejo, in the Social Rehabilitation Center for Sentences No. 14 El Amate (CERSS No. 14 El Amate), in Cintalapa; Adrian Gomez Jimenez, Juan de la Cruz Ruiz, Mariano Gomez Lopez, Marcos Gomez Lopez, Martin Gomez Lopez, Mariano Perez Velasco, Mario Diaz Rodriguez, Felipe Diaz Mendez and Juan Castellanos Gomez in CERSS No. 5 in San Cristobal de Las Casas; as well as Marcelino Ruiz Gomez and Baldemar Gomez Hernandez in CERSS No. 10 in Comitan de Dominguez.

For more information in Spanish:

Presos indígenas, 18 días en huelga de hambre, 2 de abril de 2019, Chiapasparalelo

Riesgo grave a la salud de nuestros compañeros en huelga de hambre en el CERSS#14, noestamostodxs.tk, 4 de abril de 2019

Reos indígenas de Chiapas se cosen los labios para exigir su libertad,  Proceso, 29 de marzo de 2019

Cese de amenazas y hostigamientos a presos en huelga de hambre en Chiapas, CDHFBLC, 22 de marzo de 2019

Trece presos indígenas cumplen 18 días en huelga en Chiapas; acusan tortura y exigen su liberación, Sinembargo 2 de abril de 2019

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Thirteen Prisoners on Hunger Strike  (March 24, 2019)

Chiapas : seis presos indígenas inician huelga de hambre (16 de marzo de 2019)

Chiapas: Diego Lopez Mendez Freed, Prisoner and Member of Solidarios de la Voz del Amate (March 15, 2019)

Chiapas: Luego de 10 años de Encarcelamiento es liberado Alfredo Goméz Lopez, Víctima de Tortura (21 de febrero de 2019)

Chiapas: Prisoners in San Cristóbal carry out fast to demand respect for their rights (January 4, 2019)

Chiapas: Indígenas presos en San Cristóbal de Las Casas exigen revisión de sus expedientes (4 de enero de 2019)


Chiapas/International: Urgent Action – Canadian Embassy before Courts for Undue Intervention in Chicomuselo Mining Conflict

March 27, 2019

Mining.png

On March 25th, a hearing will be held in Ottawa, Canada as representatives of the Canadian Embassy in Mexico were sued in an administrative complaint before the Federal Court of Canada “for their dangerous negotiations in a mining conflict,” related to the criminalization and the murder of Mariano Abarca in Chicomuselo, Chiapas in 2009.

It should be remembered that the local leader of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining (REMA in its Spanish acronym) was murdered “after an active and peaceful resistance that the villagers carried out against this company that extracted barite ore. All the suspects in the case had links to the mining company Blackfire Exploration, but no one was convicted of the murder. The investigation is still open.” In addition, “until the day of his murder, Mariano suffered threats, intimidation, beatings, arbitrary detention under false accusations made by the mining company, among other abuses.”

In the framework of the hearing, the website #Justicia for Mariano Abarca published an Urgent Action in which it stressed that “documentation obtained through the transparency law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada, shows that, despite the significant knowledge that the Canadian embassy had on the facts between the company Blackfire and Mr. Abarca -including the death threats that he faced- it went to the state government of Chiapas to ask it to control the protests against the Canadian company in the community.”

It also denounced that, “there is no will or legal frameworks, regulations or binding protocols for the personnel of the Canadian embassies in order to ensure human rights.” Therefore the Urgent Action raises the demand for “a full and impartial investigation into the case of Mariano Abarca Roblero, and ensure legal measures to prevent embassies from continuing to intervene to overlap the abuse and violation of human rights that Canadian mining companies commit in other countries.”

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente en línea: Embajada Canadiense a los tribunales por su intervención indebida en conflicto minero en México (#Justicia para Mariano, 19 de marzo de 2019)

“En México, los intereses de Canadá son los de las empresas mineras” (Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros en América Latina, 15 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Internacional/Chiapas : Interponen solicitud formal ante gobierno de Canadá para investigar a los diplomáticos en este país ante caso de ambientalista asesinado (7 de febrero de 2018)

Chiapas: 5 years since the murder of mining critic Mariano Abarca (December 15, 2014)

Chiapas: 5,000 Men and Women on Pilgrimage against Mining in Chicomuselo (October 17, 2017)

Chiapas: Anti-Mining Activist Mariano Abarca Killed (December 1, 2009)


Chiapas: Diego Lopez Mendez Freed, Prisoner and Member of Solidarios de la Voz del Amate

March 15, 2019

Diego.png

On July 18th, after six years and eight months in prison, Diego Lopez Mendez, an indigenous Tseltal native from San Juan Cancuc, was released after an intense national and international campaign by his relatives, friends, activists and human rights defenders, who alleged that he was tortured to incriminate himself for a crime he did not commit. Lopez Mendez was part of the organization “Solidarios de la Voz del Amate”, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and in the last stage, he was imprisoned in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

In 2018, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights documented thirteen complaints of torture of six Tseltals, six Tsotsiles and one Chol, who are in prison. It affirmed that Diego’s case makes visible a recurrent practice of the ministerial authorities of trying to legitimize arbitrary arrest carried out in a context of torture as well as the “disinterest of the judicial authorities of being a counterweight in charge of reviewing the ministerial actions.”

For more information in Spanish:

Liberan a Diego López, indígena tseltal que fue torturado para autoinculparse en 2012 (Proceso, 12 de marzo de 2019)

COMUNICADO A PROPÓSITO DE LA LIBERACIÓN DE DIEGO LÓPEZ MÉNDEZ (Grupo de Trabajo No estamos todos, 12 de marzo de 2019)

Celebran libertad de Diego López Méndez (Cuarto Poder, 13 de marzo de 2019)

Dan libertad a indígena tseltal que fue torturado para autoinculparse (Regeneración, 13 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Luego de 10 años de Encarcelamiento es liberado Alfredo Goméz Lopez, Víctima de Tortura (21 de febrero de 2019)

Chiapas: Indígenas presos en San Cristóbal de Las Casas exigen revisión de sus expedientes (4 de enero de 2019)

Chiapas: Prisoners in San Cristóbal carry out fast to demand respect for their rights (January 4th, 2019)

Chiapas: Voice of Amate Supporter Moved to High Security Prison (November 27th, 2018)


Guerrero: Urgent Action “No Dam, No Prisoners”, Demands Release of 16 Indigenous CECOP Members

March 14, 2019

cecop

On March 8th, more than 2,000 people had already demanded “the immediate release of the 16 indigenous members of the Council of Ejidos and Opposition Communities to the Presa la Parota (CECOP), whose crime was to defend their lands and natural assets against the La Parota Dam”, through the Avaaz petition website. This is due to the multiple violations of due process, torture and the arbitrary and illegal circumstances of the arrests, which “demonstrate that there are political and economic interests against the communities that oppose the dam.” They also requested that harassment and arbitrary arrests of the inhabitants of the community of Cacahuatepec, municipality of Acapulco, stop.

In the same case, on March 5th, members of CECOP, the Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners of the State of Guerrero (MOLPPEG in its Spanish acronym) and the Montaña Tlachinollan Center for Human Rights held a meeting with the Governor of Guerrero, Hector Astudillo Flores, to follow up on the tables established to review the cases of these same prisoners, as well as to demand the cessation of harassment against the members of CECOP. The MOLPPEG reported that, “it filed a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission (CODDEHUM in its Spanish acronym), to intervene and no longer continue to pressurize the comrades of the communal property of Cacahuatepec, in the municipality of Acapulco, as well as the Zapata Vive collective.” He explained that the State and Ministerial police have been raiding computers to identify comrades who have an arrest warrant.

For his part, the Tlachinollan lawyer, Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, reported that through this meeting he was following up a dialogue path begun in December, with a view to solving the problem of political prisoners in the state, mainly those of CECOP. He stated that the government authorities have said that it will be resolved according to law and that the legal route will be that which is privileged.

A day earlier, Tlachinollan listed 8 reasons why it considers that the 16 CECOP prisoners should be granted freedom:

“• They were arbitrarily detained on January 7th, 2018 in a violent operation where the police murdered three CECOP campesinos.

  • On the way to the Prosecutor’s Office they were tortured and given cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to force them to plead guilty. • During their detention, they were held incommunicado for more than 48 hours, preventing their relatives and lawyers from being interviewed.
  • During their solitary confinement, the Public Ministry obtained evidence in an unlawful manner to indict them for homicide.
  • The weapons allegedly obtained by the police were obtained from illegal searches carried out at the houses of the CECOP community members.
  • The CECOP detainees were not at the scene when the confrontation took place between those who were killed on both sides. They were arrested in the place when they went to the Sunday Assembly of the CECOP.
  • There is an onslaught to dismantle the CECOP and the resistance against the La Parota hydroelectric project.
  • Gravel workers who irrationally exploit the gravel and sand of the Papagayo River have organized the villagers to confront CECOP.

For more information in Spanish:

Acción Urgente en línea “Ni presa ni presos” (marzo de 2019)

Se reúne ONG con Héctor Astudillo para pedir la libertad de 16 miembros del Cecop (La Jornada de Guerrero, 6 de marzo de 2019)

Denuncian en Guerrero acoso de policías contra opositores a La Parota (LA Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2019)

Se reúne Astudillo con Tlachinollan, Cecop y Molppeg (Quadratin, 5 de marzo de 2019)
8 Razones para la libertad de los presos políticos del CECOP (Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña Tlachinollan, 4 de marzo de 2019)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Liberan bajo fianza a dos integrantes de la CECOP (28 de febrero de 2019)

Guerrero/Internacional : Europarlamentarios y organizaciones internacionales expresan su preocupación por criminalización de integrantes de CECOP; marchan en Acapulco a favor de la liberación de sus presos (7 de febrero de 2019)

Guerrero : Siguen exigiendo la libertad de 19 presos detenidos por oponerse a la construcción de la Presa La Parota (1ero de febrero de 2019)

Guerrero: Piden la liberación de 19 presos políticos (10 de enero de 2019)

Guerrero: organizaciones nacionales e internacionales visitan a presos del CECOP y la CRAC-PC (6 de octubre de 2018)

Guerrero: 50 órdenes de aprehensión contra comuneros del CECOP (17 de septiembre de 2018)