Oaxaca/National: Efforts to avert imprisonment of human-rights defender Bettina Cruz

October 1, 2014

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archivo)

Bettina Cruz (@SIPAZ archive)

In a press conference held on 23 September, federal legislators called on the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) to stop the looming incarceration of Oaxacan rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez, who presently free faces accusations of kidnapping and crimes against consumption and national wealth.

It bears mentioning that on 22 February 2012, the defender was detained and incarcerated, accused of kidnapping and crimes against consumption and the national wealth, though she only participated in a protest a year previous opposing high electricity prices in Oaxaca.  On 24 February 2012 she posted bail and was released, but the legal process against her continues.

The legislators in question affirm that they “consider that the moves and process against Bettina represent acts of criminalization of social protest, illustrating the risky situations faced by persons who work to defend human rights.  Through this process, it has become clear that the justice system has deviated greatly against them, particularly those who work in defense of the land amidst the imposition of megaprojects.”

Beyond this, in a communique published on 25 September, Amnesty International (AI) warned that, if the judiciary power decided to imprison the rights-defender, it would “consider nominating her as a prisoner of conscience.”  AI stressed that the obligation of the Mexican authorities “is to guarantee that the justice system does not work in favor of the persecution of those who defend human rights, as revenge against their legitimate actions.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Piden legisladores a PGR evitar encarcelamiento de activista (Cimac Noticias, 23 de septiembre de 2014)

Carta completa de los legisladores (23 de septiembre de 2014)

No a la persecución judicial de las personas defensoras de derechos humanos (Amnistía Internacional, 25 de septiembre de 2014)

Campaña en twitter: etiqueta #JusticiaparaBettina

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Various denunciations in the Tehuantepec Isthmus from community assemblies organized against wind-farms in their territories (6 September 2014)

Oaxaca: Confrontations in Álvaro Obregón community, Juchitán, leave several injured (15 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Opponents to wind-energy parks threatened with death in the Isthmus (2 March 2014)

Oaxaca: Denunciation of harassment and death-threats against human-rights defenders in the Tehuantepec Isthmus (9 December 2013)

Oaxaca: Detention and subsequent release of rights-defender Bettina Cruz Velázquez (March 7, 2012)

Oaxaca: Death-threats against human-rights defenders (4 November 2011)

Chiapas/National: Lawyers for Patishtán and communal police of Michoacán denounce death-threats and harassment

March 28, 2014

Leonel Rivero (@SIPAZ archivo)

Leonel Rivero (@SIPAZ archive)

In an Urgent Action published on 14 March, Amnesty International (AI) denounced the death-threats and harassment suffered by the lawyers of the Strategic Defense for Human Rights, Leonel Rivero Rodríguez and Augusto César Sandino Rivero Espinoza.  These lawyers are known for their interventions in cases such as that of now ex-prisoner Alberto Patishtán, those arrested from the Front of Peoples in Defense of the Land from San Salvador Atenco, and communal police from Michoacán.

On 17 January, Rivero Rodríguez received a threatening telephone call and then presented a denunciation before the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR), though the perpetrator of the action has not yet been identified.  Indeed, the PGR has now informed her that it plans to place the affair in the archive.

On 4 March, “three unknown persons invaded a hotel in which Leonel Rivero Rodríguez was meeting with members of communities from Michoacán state to address delicate issues,” regarding a case that she was covering together with Sandino Rivero Espinosa.  On 10 March, the office that Leonel Rivero Rodríguez has in her home in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas was harassed.

AI has called on the authorities to guarantee the security of the lawyers of Strategic Defense for Human Rights, to undertake an impartial investigationi into the telephone threats made on 17 January, and the harassment of 10 March, as well as to guarantee that “the lawyers who work on potentially delicate affairs be allowed to carry out their legitimate activities without fear of suffering repression.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Acción Urgente de Amnistía Internacional, 14 de marzo de 2014

Amnistía Internacional denuncia amenazas contra abogados de Patishtán(Proceso, 17 de marzo de 2014)

Denuncia Amnistía Internacional hostigamiento contra abogado de Patishtán (La Jornada, 17 de marzo de 2014)

 Los abogados de Alberto Patisthán denuncian amenazas y hostigamientos(CNN México, 18 de marzo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Rejection of recognition of Patishtán’s innocence. “There is a look of denigration toward the indigenous sector,” says lawyer (4 October 2013)

Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero: Activities to observe International Day of Non-Violence toward Women

December 8, 2013

Marcha en Oaxaca. Fotos @SIPAZ

March in Oaxaca. Photo @SIPAZ

In observance of the International Day of Non-Violence toward Women on 25 November, different collectives and organizations carried out acts of denunciation in the capital of Oaxaca.  A caravan-march carrying dozens of paper coffins representing the 240 femicides that have taken place during the administration of Gabino Cué took to the streets of the city to Santa María Ixcotel, where participants demanded the punishment of the murderers and clarification of the cases.  The organization Consorcio for Parliamentary Dialogue and Gender Equity denounced the inefficacy of the Oaxacan justice system which via omission has allowed for an increase in disappearances and murders against women, stressing that 99% of the cases find themselves unresolved, with the perpetrators unpunished.  In this sense, Consorcio accuses judges of partiality and demands that sentences incorporate gender perspectives.  Beyond this, members of the National Network of Young Pro-Choice Catholics carried out a march through downtown Oaxaca City which ended at the Palace of Governance, where flowers and crosses were left behind to represent the murdered women, and protestors demanded that the government put an end to the impunity amidst the increase in femicides and sexual violence.

This same day, non-governmental organizations in Chiapas demanded that the state government declare a Gender Violence Alert.  These groups denounced “the incessant violence against women in Chiapas and the different forms of violence against women and their extreme conclusion: femicide.”  They recalled that, so far this year (January-October 2013), the number of deaths of women has reached 84, 71 of whom were killed violently.  On 24 November, the Indigenous Center for Comprehensive Development and Training (CIDECI) received more than 200 persons who participated in a “Meeting against violence against women and femicide in Chiapas.”  Participants engaged in dialogue regarding three fundamental problems: structural violence, femicide, and women’s health.  The next day, there was a march of women through the streets of  San Cristóbal de Las Casas which raised the slogans “No more violence against women” and “Patriarchy kills.”  In parallel terms, a juridical commission submitted a petition for a Gender Violence Alert to the Secretary of State Governance, based in Tuxtla Gutiérrez.  Also in observance of the International Day against Violence against Women, Mayan peoples and theists from the northern region of the state released a press-release denouncing these types of forms of violence.  The document, among other things, mentions that “domestic violence is ever-worsening in our communities, as worsened by the consumption and sale of alcohol.  The trade in alcohol principally affects WOMEN and CHILDREN.”

Also on 25 November, in Guerrero, President Enrique Peña Nieto announced the construction of a Center of Justice to provide legal, psychological, and economic support for women who are victims of violence in the state.  The center was inaugurated in Tlapa, in the Mountain region, and it represents the first phase of a communal project called Women’s City, which seeks to build offices to provide comprehensive attention to women who suffer violence or have been abandoned or trafficked.

For more information (in Spanish):

En Oaxaca, suman 64 mujeres asesinadas en 2013 (Grupo Fórmula, 24 de noviembre de 2013)

Son 240 casos de feminicidios en Oaxaca, marchan en la capital(Realidad Oaxaca, 25 de noviembre de 2013)

Celebran “viacrucis” por las mujeres (El Imparcial, 25 de noviembre de 2013)

Video: Colectivo exige cese a la violencia contra las mujeres (Noticias Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca, 25 de noviembre de 2013)

Realizan encuentro contra feminicidio en Chiapas (Contra Feminicidio Ch, 26 de noviembre de 2013)

Exigen se decrete en Chiapas alerta por violencia de género (Chiapas Paralelo, 26 de noviembre de 2013)

Pueblos mayas y creyentes en el día internacional de la no violencia contra las mujeres (Pueblos Mayas y Creyentes Unidos Por El Cuidado De La Vida Y Defensa De Nuestro Territorio, 25 de noviembre de 2013)

Segob “despolitiza” Alerta de Género… 3 años después; es insuficiente para defender a las mujeres, dicen ONGs (Sin Embargo, 26 de noviembre de 2013)

“Ya basta” de violencia a las mujeres: Peña (El Universal, 26 de noviembre de 2013)

Mujeres víctimas de violencia tendrán un Centro de Justicia en Guerrero (CNN México, 26 de noviembre de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/Oaxaca: Conmemoration of femicides during Day of the Dead (13 November 2013)

Chiapas: Careful, patriarchy kills! Presentation of the “Campaign against violence against women and femicide in Chiapas” (3 October 2013)

Chiapas: Women declare alert over gender violence (20 July 2013)

Chiapas: Increase in feminicide and State Accord for Gender Equality (22 April 2013)

Oaxaca: March of releatives of victims of feminicide and members of human rights organizations for women (22 April 2013)

Oaxaca: More feminicides under Gabino Cué than in the final years of Ulises Ruiz (24 January 2013)

Chiapas: Colem Group of Women take action against feminicide (19 October 2012)

Oaxaca: PBI calls for strengthening of protection of rights-defenders in the state

February 26, 2013


Following a meeting with Oaxaca state governor Gabino Cué, representatives of Peace Brigades International (PBI Mexico) reported in a press-release on 19 February some of the challenges for the protection of human-rights defenders in the state, such as “the adequate functioning and strengthening of the institutions and implementation of the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights-Defenders at the state level, in cooperation with those who benefit from this.”

Ben Leather, representative of the PBI, recognized the opening of the Gabino Cué administration in terms of human rights, but he warned of the worrying statistics on assaults registered to date.  The latest report by Urgent Action for Human-Rights Defenders indicated that Oaxaca is the second state in Mexico (after Chihuahua) in the number of attacks on rights-defenders in 2011, and it leads for the first third of the year 2012.  Human-rights defenders continue to report death-threats, harassment, defamation, criminalization, physical attacks, and murder.  Due to the situation of risk confronted by rights-defenders, PBI has maintained a permanent team in Oaxaca since 2008.

For more information (in Spanish):

PBI México llama al gobernador de Oaxaca a fortalecer la protección a personas defensoras (PCI, boletín de prensa, 21 de febrero de 2013)

Oaxaca, el estado con más ataques contra activistas (Proceso, 20 de febrero de 2013)

Chiapas: Demand for motion in the case of Zapatista prisoner Francisco Santiz López

November 9, 2012

In an informational note published on 1 November, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC) announced that it had presented a motion in favor of Francisco Santiz López, a Zapatista support-base from Banavil (Tenejapa municipality) who has been imprisoned in San Cristóbal de las Casas since the end of December 2011.  The CDHFBC posited that it had submitted this motion for the immediate liberation Santiz López “in light of the grave violations of due process committed against his person,” which include the “lack of adequate counsel and access to justice, given that he lacks both a translator and a social defender knowledgeable of his language and culture, so as to assist him in his declaration before the Federal Attorney General’s Office,” as well of course as the violation of the principle of presumed innocence.

In observance of the international campaign Global Echo in Support of the Zapatistas that will end on 17 November, the CDHFBC requested the sending of urgent actions to different authorities, requesting the release of Santiz López.

For more information (in Spanish):

Nota informativa del CDHFBC: Acciones para la libertad de Francisco Sántiz López BAEZLN (CDHFBC, 1ero de noviembre de 2012)

Ante violaciones procesales, el Frayba pide amparar a base de apoyo del EZLN (La Jornada, 2 de noviembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: News from two prisoners in Chiapas state prisons (15 October 2012)

Chiapas: Oventic JBG once again demands release of Francisco Santiz López (17 June 2012)

Chiapas: Forum against political prison and for the release of Alberto Patishtán Gómez (21 May 2012)

Chiapas: Assembly is held in El Bosque to demand the release of Alberto Patishtán (25 March 2012)

Chiapas: CDHFBC publishes more information on the Banavil case (9 February 2012)

Chiapas: Urgent Action in in case of aggressions against families who sympathize with EZLN by PRI group from the Banavil ejido and arbitrary detention of Zapatista support-base (8 February 2012)

Guerrero: Alert is requested for high number of feminicides

September 18, 2012

Photo @ Periódico Digital

To date in 2012, the number of feminicides has increased in Guerrero.  Data from civil organizations reveal that until last August, at least 135 women were killed in the state, and so these organizations consider it urgent that state government declare a gender alert.  The coordination of the “Hannah Arendt” Observatory for Gender Violence in Guerrero, Rosa Icela Ojeda Rivera, said that since 2006 she had requested the state authorities to declare a gender alert, a request that has been rejected, although each day its need grows, given the number of murders that have been reigstered from 2005 to date.  Ojeda Rivera detailed that beyond the increase in assault on victims, “sexual violence and torture has been documented before the murder in a high number of cases, the bodies of murdered women were abandoned in public spaces, thrown into the trash or in sanitation channels.”  Gender violence has also increased, with Guerrero maintaining the third place in the country in these terms, after Mexico City and Chihuahua.

For more information (in Spanish):

Guerrero: piden emitir alerta por feminicidios (El Universal, 6 de septiembre de 2012)

Guerrero es el tercer estado con más feminicidios: Arendt (Periódico Digital, 24 de agosto de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Amnesty International publishes report on violence against women in Mexico (20 July 2012)

Chiapas: Justice is demanded in the case of the feminicide of the youth Itzel Yanet Méndez Pérez (16 May 2012)

Demand for end to feminicide in Oaxaca (8 September 2011)

Guerrero – briefs – Tierra Caliente is second-highest national location in number of feminicides (14 September 2010)

Chiapas: Urgent Action for the forced transfer of prisoner Alberto Patishtán

October 27, 2011

According to information provided by prisoners fasting and on hunger strike in CERSS 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, director José Miguel Alacrón Garciá and commander Andrés Alfaro Figueroa arrived during the early morning of Thursday 20 October together with several other officials to the sit-in of the prisoners to take away Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, without his consent and without revealing to where he was being moved.

In a denunciation, the Network against Repression denounces that “this is clearly an attempt to demoralize the hunger strike.  They are as aware as we are of the moral authority that Patishtán represents within the prison and more clearly in the strike.  Beyond this, he is the official spokesperson of this just act that our incarcerated comrades have undertaken in the prisons of San Cristóbal, Amate, and Motozintla.  The government has not only not pronounced itself publicly on the matter and sought to make-invisible the protest of the comrades, but rather is attempting to divide and dismantle this hunger strike.”  It also made a call “to demand that relatives, friends, and comrades be informed of the whereabouts of Professor Patishtán Gómez” as well as that he be released immediately together with all others who are either fasting or on hunger strike.

Later in the day, the Prosecutorial Office of the state reported that Patishtán Gómez had been transferred to the Federal Center for Social Reinsertion no. 8 (Cefereso), located in Guasave, Sinaloa.  The state government declared that “in observation of the program of the reduction of prison centers, this Thursday the federal Secretary of Public Security carried out the transfer of 48 prisoners who had been held in the Chiapas CERSS to different federal prisons in the country.”

In an Urgent Action published at the end of the day, the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights indicated that “the transfer of Professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez is a clear punishment intended to disarticulate the movement of the prisoners on hunger strike and of their relatives.  It violates the right to the freedom of reunion, manifestation, and expression, as well as the rights of incarcerated persons as stipulated in several international accords such as the Principles and Good Practices regarding the Protection of the Imprisoned in the Americas from the Organization of American States: ‘transfers of prisoners should not be carried out with the intention of punishing, repressing, or discriminating against the incarcerated, their family-members, or representatives; nor should these be carried out in conditions that would result in their mental or physical suffering or that would be humiliating […].   The transferred […] should be authorized and supervised by competent authorities who under all circumstances respect dignity and fundamental rights, and who will take into account the necessity of persons to be imprisoned in locales near to their family, their community, their legal representatives […].”

For m ore information (in Spanish):

RvsR Chiapas denuncia: Alberto Patishtán fue sacado del plantón en la madrugada del 20 de octubre (20 October)

Denuncia audio de Solidario de la Voz del Amate, en huelga de hambre (20 October)

Acción Urgente: Trasladan al Profesor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, vocero de La Voz del Amate (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (20 October)

Por huelga de hambre, envían a penal para reos peligrosos a maestro tzotzil (Proceso, 20 October)

Llevan a penal de Sinaloa a Patishtán Gómez, vocero de reos de Chiapas en huelga de hambre (La Jornada, 21 October)

Trasladado a penal de Sinaloa (Cuarto Poder, 21 October)

Comunicado de Amnistía Internacional preocupada por el trato a huelguistas de hambre en Chiapas (21 October)


Denuncia de traslado arbitrario de Alberto Patishtan – en Huelga de Hambre (20 October 2011)

Familiares de presos – huelga y ayuno (20 October 2011)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: 20 days into hunger strike and 11 days into sit-in of relatives, 2 prisoners are released (27 October 2011)

Chiapas: 15 days of hunger strike and  days of sit-in (17 October 2011)

Chiapas: Sit-in of relatives of relatives of prisoners on hunger strike(17 October 2011)

Chiapas: MPJD arrives once again to Chiapas, there to express solidarity with Las Abejas, prisoners on strike, and Zapatistas (17 October 2011)

Chiapas: 8 days of hunger strike at CERSS no. 5 (7 October 2011)

Chiapas: Prisoners fasting and on hunger strike (4 October 2011)

Chiapas: Public day for Fasting and Prayer for Peace in the San Cristóbal prison (26 September 2011)