[Interview, in Spanish, with Alberto Patishtan Gómez.]
Alberto Patishtan Gómez was arrested in the year 2000, charged with planning and executing an armed ambush in which seven police officers were killed in the municipality of El Bosque, Chiapas. Despite his claims of innocence, and the numerous irregularities presented in his case, Mr Patishtan Gómez was sentenced to a term of 60 years in the high security prison “El Amate”, in the town of Cintalapa, Chiapas.
SIPAZ recently conducted a telephone interview with Alberto Patishtan Gómez, who since February 26 has maintained a hunger strike together with other prisoners in El Amate. He commented that in his eight years of detention, this was the third hunger strike to demand his freedom: “this is the third strike, and it’s the definitive one”. After 36 days of hunger strike he was already suffering from symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and “seeing stars” when he shut his eyes.
The detainee, a member of the group “The Voice of El Amate,” informed SIPAZ that he was ready to give up his life for freedom, and that he preferred “to die on [his] feet, and not the way the government would like; [he refuses] to kneel before the government.” He stated that the hunger strike came from his “love for freedom, for social struggle, for the poor, ” and went on to say that “in this state we can’t speak of justice when arrest warrants are issued or changed based on confessions extracted under torture”.
In the list of detainees who were released on Monday March 31, Alberto Patishtan Gómez’s name did not appear. He was informed that as his charges were laid at a federal level, the Chiapas government had no say in the matter. However, Mr Patishtan Gómez recognized that those who were released owed their freedom to the political pressure from social organizations, and urged people to continue contacting Mexican authorities and those in their own country, demanding the release of those who remain detained.