Guerrero: Liberty for Raúl Hernández, prisoner of conscience

August 30, 2010

Raúl Hernández free (@ Tlachinollan)

After having been held for 28 months in the prison of Ayutla de los Libres, Raúl Hernández Abundio, member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM), was released on Friday, 27 August.  The judge overseeing his case, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, ordered Hernández’s immediate and unconditional release, basing his demand in arguments advanced by the defense.  Sánchez Sánchez said that Raúl Hernández “is neither guilty nor judicially responsible for the murder of Alejandro Feliciando García, which occurred in January 2008.”  Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, the defense lawyer from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, proclaimed the development to be “a triumph for the social movement both in Guerro and Mexico generally.”

Hernández left prison at 2:45pm and was received by members of the OPIM as well as his juridical advisers and lawyers from Tlachinollan.  Via telephone conversation with media sources, he stressed that he “feels happy, now that they have given me my liberty,” and that “we will continue to work so that they give us infrastructure, schools, medical clinics; we will continue to struggle, and I will continue to work.”

In a 27 August communiqué, Amnesty International (AI), which has recognized Raúl Hernández as a prisoner of conscience, requests that Hernández’s “groundless” processing be thoroughly reviewed, and that he receive compensation for his “unjust imprisonment.”  AI claims that “the case against Raúl Hernández constitutes reprisal on the part of the authorities for his legitimate activities in promotion of indigenous rights by means of the OPIM as well as his exposure of the abuses committed by local caciques, soldiers, and authorities.”  In a communiqué released the same day, Tlachinollan reiterates that “the sentence proclaimed today shows the forcefulness of the evidence brought forth by Raúl and his defense and furthermore confirms the inconsistencies of the accusations that the national and international human-rights organizations have denounced with the strong convinction and belief that Raúl is innocent, and that his imprisonment followed from the constant denunciation of fundamental rights carried out objectively by his organization since 1998.”  Raúl Hernández was imprisoned since April 2008, charged for the crime of murdering an informant of the Mexican army, crime he did not commit.

For more information (in Spanish):

Following two years in prison, judge demands liberty for Raúl Hernández (La Jornada, 27 August)

Amnesty International demands compensation for Raúl Hernández, given his unjust imprisonment (El Sur de Acapulco, 28 August)

Prisoner of conscience Raúl Hernández is released; call for clarification of crime for which he was unjustly accused (El Sur de Acapulco, 28 August)

Indigenous defender from Guerrero accused of murder is released (La Jornada, 28 August)

Amnesty International communiqué(27 August)

Communiqué-Raúl Hernández, free (27 de agosto)

Weblog on the case of Raúl Hernández

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: PGJE requests 50 years for Raúl Hernández (11 August)

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Guerrero briefs: Valentina before the IACHR- Developments in the case of prisoner of conscience Raúl Hernández

June 8, 2010

On 27 May, the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) heard in San José, Costa Rica, the case of indigenous woman Valentina Rosendo Cantú, who for eight years has stipulated that she was raped by soldiers in the municipality of Acatepec, Guerrero.  “From the court I hope for justice–I hope that the soldiers be imprisoned, and that the government accept that it indeed was members of the military who abused me,” declared Rosendo to the media during a recess from hearings, during which her testimony was presented in a closed session.  She assured that “the eight years of waiting, of all the suffering, were worth it, because to have arrived here was important.” She added that, after having filed complaints in Mexico, she had received death-threats and was forced to leave her community for fear of reprisal.  She noted that the State has denied recognition of all responsibility for her case.

The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), represenative of Rosendo before the IACHR, has criticized that this case is being considered in military tribunal.  According to CEJIL, the Mexican State is in “complete contempt” of a finding made by the Inter-American Court that claims that in Mexico military jurisdiction should not handle investigations of human-rights violations.

This is the second case of its kind for which Mexico finds itself in the dock of the IACHR: last April, the IACHR’s judges considered the case of the Me’phaa indigenous woman Inés Fernández, who denounced her having been abused by soldiers in 2002.  The case has not reached a verdict to date.

On the other hand, a bulletin released by the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) and the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights explains that a judge had found falsehoods in the declarations of the principal accuser against the prisoner of conscience Raúl Hernández, of the OPIM.

The main judge in the case, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, whose offices are located in Ayutla, engaged in an ocular inspection of the Me’phaa community El Camalote that allowed him to verify that both the distance between the home of the primary witness and the location where the reported events purpotedly took place as well as the geographical features of the land together with darkness would not have allowed said witness enough visibility to see what he claims to have seen.

According to the Tlachinollan Center and members of OPIM, this “subtracts from the value of Fidel Remigio’s testimony; accordingly, penal action against Raúl Hernández should desist, as it has been shown once again that he is being held under fabricated charges for his work in defense of the human rights of indigenous peoples.”

For more information (in Spanish):

– Regarding Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Indigenous woman calls for justice from the IACHR (El Universal, 28 May)

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights hears case of Guerrero indigenous woman (La Jornada, 28 May)

– Regarding Raúl Hernández

OPIM/Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights (1 June)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

– Regarding Valentina Rosendo Cantú

Guerrero: Briefs – CECOP demonstrates before Senate/Press-conference on the cases of Inés and Valentina is held (27 May)

– Regarding Raúl Hernández

Guerrero: 2nd anniversary of the imprisonment of Raúl Hernández (Abril 23, 2010)

Guerrero: OPIM members win appeal for legal protection (February 25, 2010)