Guerrero: Activists and artists demand the release of Nestora Salgado

July 23, 2015

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Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 17 July, social collectives, artists, and activists protested at a political-cultural event in favor of the release of Nestora Salgado, commander of the Communal Police of Olinalá, Guerrero, who has been imprisoned for two years now. The event was held outside the Tetepan Center for Social Reinsertion, as organized by the “Women to Free Nestora” committee. As part of this activity, the concert “Let us open paths for liberation” was held, with the participation of several female rappers. Through music and rhythms, they pronounced themselves in favor of the release of Nestora, and against the criminalization of social struggles.

During the action, an audio message from Nestora was played, wherein she expressed gratitude for the support evinced at the action. In this way, she also called on the Guerrero state congress to support the Law on Amnesty, and she called on the Secretary for Governance and the United Nations High Commissioner in Mexico to follow her case. She stressed that she “wants to show that this incarceration is unjust. I have been imprisoned on false charges, these being crimes I never committed.” Lastly, she called on Mexican society to unite efforts to promote the liberty of political prisoners: “Only with your support will our freedom be assured.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Exigen libertad para Nestora Salgado (Somos el Medio, julio de 2015)

Nestora Libre

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero/National: Nestora Salgado, newly accused (29 June 2015)

Guerrero/National: Nestora Salgado is transferred to a Mexico City prison (10 June 2015)

Guerrero: Still on hunger strike, Nestora Salgado continues to hope for transfer as her health declines (9 June 2015)

Guerrero: political prisoner Nestora Salgado, coordinator of the Communal Police of Olinalá, begins hunger strike (16 May 2015)


Chiapas: Salvadorean migrant denounces human-rights violations

July 23, 2015

@ChiapasDenunciaPública

@ChiapasDenunciaPública

On 17 July, an open letter was published on the Chiapas Public Denunciation webpage, authored by Alejandro, a Salvadorean migrant who finds himself “in prison #14, El Amate, in Chiapas State, since 3 April 2014, accused of the crime of damages against health in transport.”

In his letter, Alejandro relates how he was arrested as he was driving the car in which he works. He was thereafter kidnapped, tortured, and subjected to extortion by Mexican State agents, he claims, and finally transferred to the Amate prison, where he was formally charged with damages against health via kidnapping. In the letter, Alejandro observes that “I am unjustly being held, as I did not commit this crime. On 1 April 2014 I was intercepted by a vehicle without license at the entrance of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, on the highway to Chiapa del Corzo. Said vehicle carried five individuals, three up front and two in back. Upon overtaking me, the three subjects riding in the front blocked my exit, raised their firearms against me, and told me I was under arrest. Another subject then got out of the truck, identifying himself as commander of the Federal Ministerial Police. He ordered me to be taken from the taxi, as my job is to be a taxi-driver, and then one of them opened the driver-seat door and removed me violently, all the while pointing guns at me.”

The Salvadorean migrant affirms that he is being held in El Amate for “a crime that I did not commit. I am ill, and I have problems with my knees, as well as high blood pressure, all of this as a result of the tortures carried out by men who take advantage of their authority to invent charges and so justify their work, or to incarcerate innocent persons instead of actual criminals […]. I request protection for my family, since, if these men are capable of inventing crimes, what else can be expected of them?”

For more information (in Spanish):

Migrante salvadoreño denuncia fabricación de delito, tortura, encarcelamiento y extorsión (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 17 de julio de 2015)

Migrante salvadoreño denuncia fabricación de delito, tortura, encarcelamiento y extorsión (Regeneración, 18 de julio de 2015)


Guerrero: Relatives of disappeared students from Ayotzinapa meet with PGR for first time in 4 months

July 22, 2015

 DSCF4096

March in Chilpancingo, February 2015

Photo @ SIPAZ archive

On 9 July, the relatives of the 43 forcibly disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, together with their representatives, met with the Federal Attorney General, Arely Gómez. This was the first meeting since the time when Gómez was ratified in this position, and after four months of a breakdown in communication between the relatives and the authorities. The meeting was organized and accompanied by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), which in a press release mentions that “the Group believes that this meeting is an important step to advance in the investigation and improve the relationship with the relatives, and we believe that the result was fruitful.” In the meeting, the Attorney General and the relatives of the students made reference to the importance of the GIEI’s work in terms of the investigation, and they agreed to follow-up mechanisms and for dialogue with the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR).

The lawyer from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, Vidulfo Rosales, reported that the head of the PGR did not pronounce herself about the “historical truth” established by the previous Attorney General, Jesús Murillo Karam, but rather only indicated that the case continues to be open. The third report from GIEI, published in May 2015, confirmed that the fate of the 43 students victimized by forcible disapeparance cannot be considered resolved in any sense, considering the version and evidence offered by the PGR: firstly, because there exist allegations of torture on the part of some of these persons whose declarations are based on their understanding of the case, and secondly, because there is no solid motive that would explain the beginning of the line advanced by the federal authorities.

It bears mentioning that the GIEI is comprised of 5 international and independent experts who operate under the precautionary measures awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in the case of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa. The GIEI will be releasing a series of recommendations to the Mexican State regarding the case and the situation of forced disappearance in Mexico.

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa GIEI (9 de julio de 2015)

Nuevas líneas de investigación para Ayotzinapa (SIDIDH, 10 de julio de 2015)

Tercer boletín GIEI (11 de mayo 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Guerrero: Nine months after the Ayotzinapa atrocity, relatives express taht they will not be silenced (2 de julio de 2015)

Chiapas/Guerrero: Delegation of relatives and comrades of Ayotzinapa students tour CNI communities (29 June 2015)

Guerrero/National: 8 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, there is no progress (9 June 2015)

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa – seven months of impunity and struggling for justice (3 May 2015)

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)


National/International: Army and security forces involved in extrajudicial executions, torture, and forcible disappearances: US State Department

July 21, 2015

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The U.S. State Department has released its annual report on the human-rights situation in Mexico. It indicated that, in 2014, the Mexican Army and security forces were involved in forcible disappearances and murder, as in the cases of the 43 disappeared youth from Ayotzinapa and the 22 civilians killed in Tlatlaya. In this sense, the report notes that “significant problems related to human rights include the police and military due to their involvement in serious abuses, such as extrajudicial murders, torture, forcible disappearances, and physical abuse.” Furthermore, the report shared the conclusions come to by Juan Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, who denounced that these crimes are the consequence of the various irregularities that exist within the Mexican judicial system. “Impunity and corruption continue to be serious problems, particularly at the state and local levels, in the armed forces, and the judiciary,” the report notes. With reference to organized crime, it mentions that “organized-crime groups are also responsible for numerous murders, frequently acting with impunity and in alliance with corrupt state, local, and federal security officials.”

With respect to the Tlatlaya case in Mexico State, which took place on 30 June 2014, the report reviewed the confrontation between civilians and soldiers in which “22 individuals were killed under suspicious circumstances, some of them after having surrendered.” With regard to the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, the report sustained the conclusions which the Federal Attorney General’s Office had come to, maintaining the charges against the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca, and his wife, who were directly accused of responsibility for the disappearance of the students.

Beyond this, State highlighted other serious human-rights problems in Mexico, including the lamentable conditions in prisons and arbitrary arrests. In addition, the State report mentioned the death-threats and violence directed against human-rights defenders and journalists, abuse against migrants, domestic violence, human trafficking, abuse against people with disabilities, social and economic discrimination against the indigenous population, the exploitation of child labor, and attacks and threats against the gay community.

It should be mentioned that the conclusions of the report will serve as evidence for the U.S. Congress to consider when reviewing the amount of economic assistance to be granted next year to Mexico.

For more information (in Spanish):

Informe del Departamento de Estado de Estados Unidos en materia de Derechos Humanos 2014, versión en inglés: Mexico 2014 Human Rights Report

Ejército y fuerzas de seguridad de México, involucradas en asesinatos y desaparición de personas: EU (Proceso, 25 de junio de 2015)

Unilateral informe de EU sobre derechos humanos, responde Gobierno de México (Aristegui Noticias, 27 de junio de 2015)

Impunidad y corrupción son “problemas serios” en México, advierte EU(CNN México, 25 de junio de 2015)


National/International: WOLA requests that U.S. suspends the Mérida Initiative

July 21, 2015

WOLA

The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), together with another seven human-rights Mexican and U.S. organizations, has requested that the U.S. government arrest the resources earmarked for the Mérida Initiative, due to the fact that the Mexican State has not observed its requirements in terms of human rights. In 008, when the Initiative began, the U.S. Congress made the resources destined for Mexican security forces conditional on significant advances in the realm of human rights. “To detain these resources would signify a very clear message that the U.S. condemns the grave human-rights violations seen in Mexico,” explained Maureen Meyer, the primary coordinator of WOLA in Mexico. In their report, the organizations indicated that, according to their investigations and data, in addition to the findings made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, Mexico has not progressed in this sense. “In general, to provide Mexican security forces with more training and equipment while corruption and abuses go on unchecked does not contribute to security in the country, but instead continues exacerbating an already grave human-rights situation,” notes the memo.

For more information (in Spanish):

Piden a EU retener fondos a México por derechos humanos (LaJornada, 9 de julio de 2015)

El memorándum completo (WOLA.org, 9 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico/US: 15% of the funds of the Mérida Initiative may be tied conditionally for human-rights concerns (18 May 2012)


National/Guerrero: Nine months after the Ayotzinapa atrocity, relatives express that they will not be silenced

July 3, 2015

9meses

@LaJornada

On 26 June, nine months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, parents of the youth and other groups mobilized in Mexico City, carrying out a rally and an artistic event of 43 hours in length that included poetry-readings and theater next to the Bellas Artes (Fine Arts) Palace. Felipe de la Cruz, the spokesperson for the movement of relatives of the disappeared, said that “just as we have remained firm from the beginning, so will we continue until our youth appear with life.” “We tell you, State, and we say to you that we will be the pebble in your shoe, because we are not going to be silent, and we are not going to stop on our path […]. We will not stop struggling until our sons are presented with life,” said another relative of the disappeared. Also in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, many social organizations united their demands toward the presentation with life of the youth, and they took to the streets to demand justice. Using slogans such as “Down with the State!” and “Investigate the military!” protestors also carried banners denouncing military harassment and educational reforms.

On 17 June, Proceso reported that one of the 43 disappeared students was an active soldier. Previously, a journalist had requested information from the Ministry for National Defense (SEDENA) inquiring into whether any of the disappeared students had been an active soldier. According to the editors, this approach had to do with “a line of investigation regarding the degree of infiltration o the State within the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School, which is considered by the political authorities to be a ‘fountain of guerrilleros.” SEDENA responded by saying that “we have found one person whose name corresponds to one of the 42 disappeared students from the Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School, following your request; however, the name is classified to protect personal data.” Amidst this revelation, relatives of the disappeared stressed that this “shows clearly the military’s responsibility” in the case. Subsequently, on 26 June, personnel from the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) visited the municipal landfill of Cocula, where in October of last year a clandestine mass-grave was discovered. Beyond this, the command of the Iguala Preventive Police was shuttered, with no further information provided regarding the aim sought by this move.

For more information (in Spanish):

No nos vamos a callar”: familiares a 9 meses del caso Ayotzinapa (CNN México, 26 de junio de 2015)

Manifestantes marchan en Guerrero a 9 meses de caso Ayotzinapa(Informador.mx, 26 de junio de 2015)

Personal de PGR acude a basurero de Cocula a 9 meses del caso Ayotzinapa (Proceso, 17 de junio de 2015)

A nueve meses de su desaparición, padres de normalistas dicen: “está muy cerca la verdad” (Proceso, 27 de junio de 2015)

Personal de PGR acude a basurero de Cocula a 9 meses del caso Ayotzinapa (CNN México, 26 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/Guerrero: Delegation of relatives and comrades of Ayotzinapa students tour CNI communities (29 June 2015)

Guerrero/National: 8 months after the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, there is no progress (9 June 2015)

Guerrero: Ayotzinapa – seven months of impunity and struggling for justice (3 May 2015)

Guerrero: IACHR experts confirm that the Ayotzinapa case is a forcible disappearance and a crime against humanity (10 April 2015)


Chiapas/National: 26 June, International Day of Support for Torture Victims

July 2, 2015

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(@Amnesty International)

On 26 June was celebrated the International Day of Support for Torture Victims, which this year was focused on the right to rehabilitation. The declarations and denunciations regarding torture have not ceased after the visit to Mexico by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who in his report stressed that “torture and abuses of the incarcerated on the part of the authorities in Mexico are generalized.” Many cases are not denounced due to fear of revenge, and principally they are the committed by municipal, state, and federal police, as well as ministerial agents and the military. “Torture and abuse take place during the first 24 to 48 hours of the arrest, and generally they end after the person is arraigned: the methods that are used include threats, insults, destruction of belongings, as well as beatings (usually involving hard objects), electrocution, water-boarding, violence, and sexual abuse.” Beyond this, he added that the disparity between the number of denunciations and testimonies received and the number of condemnations is a “worrying sign of impunity.” The Rapporteur declared he had been pressured to keep his report short, leading in turn to the accusation that the report was based on a small number of cases.

On the one hand, the National Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Mexico communicated that from 2001 to May 2015 it received 10,688 complaints regarding torture and other abuses (on average 2 a day). It affirms that in just over two years of the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, it has received 2,119 denunciations, with the military being the most frequently accused force. It also poinst to the fact that the country has lacked a national registry to reflect the totality of the cases of torture and other abuses. The results it has available have been compiled by the CNDH, state human-rights commissions, and the denunciations that have been brought together.

Beyond this, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) declared that despite the fact that thirty years have passed since the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Sanction Torture, this practice persists in the region. Several commissions have expressed their concerns regarding the use of rape as a method of torture against women, the attempt to justify such actions with arguments based on threats to national security or the need to obtain information in investigations, or to prevent attacks. In this way, the IACHR has called on members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to investigate all denunciations of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Amnesty International also pronounced itself on the question, reporting that 64% of Mexicans fear being subjected to torture after arrest; this places Mexico as the second-highest country with this fear on the global scale. Beyond this, AI adds that 7,000 denunciations of torture have been made in the past 3 years, but only 7 cases sanctioned at the federal level. AI is organizing a graphical campaign against torture.

In observance of the day, a number of denunciations appeared in the media, including the charge that 40% of those arrested for the Ayotzinapa case have been subjected to torture and other abuses during their arrest, or the hunger strike undertaken by eight prisoners from different institutions in Mexico City to demand the cessation of prison abuse. In Chiapas, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) denounced the torture of a Tzotzil couple as a means of forcing them to incriminate themselves in a murder case. The CDHFBC also organized a projection and conversation regarding torture in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, where two experts on the question were present together with Silvia Domínguez, who gave testimony on the case of her brother Gabriel Domínguez, who died in police custody.

For more information (in Spanish):

La tortura y los malos tratos son generalizados en México, dice la ONU(CNN México, 9 de marzo de 2015)

Recibí presiones para minimizar mi informe sobre tortura’’: Méndez (La Jornada, 2 de abril de 2015)

En 14 años, 10 mil 688 quejas por tortura y otros tratos crueles(ContraLínea, 28 de junio de 2015)

Se deben indagar de oficio todas las denuncias de tortura: CIDH (CIMAC Noticias, 26 de junio de 2015)

Comienzan ocho reclusos huelga de hambre indefinida para denunciar tortura y extorsión (La Jornada, 29 de junio de 2015)

Torturados, la mitad de los procesados por caso Ayotzinapa: expertos del GIEGI (Proceso, 29 de junio de 2015)

Torturan a pareja tzotzil para que se inculpe de crimen, acusa el Frayba(Proceso, 29 de junio de 2015)

Cambiemos la historia #ALTOTORTURA (Amnistía Internacional)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: More than 500 cases of torture and 26 executions: Truth Commission (29 June 2015)

National: New Amnesty International report, “Out of Control: Torture and Other Abuses in Mexico” (15 September 2014)

Chiapas: Presentation of the Special Report: “Torture, mechanism of terror” (3 July 2014)

National: UN Special Rapporteur on torture ends official visit to Mexico (16 May 2014)


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