National: International organizations conclude observation mission on torture in Mexico

June 10, 2013

logoOn 31 May, the Global Organization against Torture (OMCT) and Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT) concluded an observation mission toward the end of investigating the recommendations released by the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) directed to Mexico in December 2012.  Upon concluding their mission, the organizations denounced that the Mexican government had not observed the 72 recommendations released by the CAT.  Andrea Mera, director of OMCT, and Anne Boucher (ACAT) carried out an observation-mission to the states of Chihuahua and Guerrero as well as Mexico City, where they met with state and federal authorities, civil organizations, and victims of torture, from 26 to 31 May.

In a press conference, Meraz recalled that one of the principal concerns expressed by the CAT has to do with the high number of disappearances in Mexico, and that while it may be premature to judge the special office created by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) with only 12 Public Ministry officials, “there are very few elements and resources assigned to such a large problem.”  Boucher added that during their visit, they found it highly disconcerting that one of the principal recommendations made by the CAT has not been followed, particularly in the question of the elimination of community control (arraigo).

For more information (in Spanish):
México debe aumentar voluntad política y acciones concretas para frenar la tortura (OMCT y ACAT, 31 de mayo de 2013)

México necesita voluntad política para frenar la tortura (Centro ProDH, 3 de junio de 2013)

Incumple México con recomendaciones del Comité contra la Tortura (Proceso, 3 de junio de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: UN Committee against Torture expresses grave concern for the practice of torture in Mexico (9 November 2012)

National: Amnesty International presents report regarding use of torture in Mexico (19 October 2012)

National: International judges report on conclusions of the observation of state of justice in Mexico (12 October 2012)

Chiapas: Presentation of report on torture in Chiapas “From Cruelty to Cynicism” (2 July 2012)

The OMCT condemns torture in Chiapas (18 August 2011)

National: Campaign to “Stop Community Control”

January 22, 2013

Imagen @ EDUCA

ACAT-France, together with the Committee for the Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights Gobixha AC (Codigo DH), the Miguel Agustín Pro Juarez Center for Human Rights (Prodh), the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), and the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, is carrying out a national and international campaign to end community control in Mexico.  To promote their campaign, these organizations have declared that “community control is a preventive detention carried out before the initiation of any penal process.  It is a violation of the right to adequate defense, given that those under such control are isolated, sometimes located in unknown places, leading in many cases to the use of torture.  In Mexico, thousands of people have been victimized by community control since 2008.”

Por more information (in Spanish):

Stop Arraigo! Conoce la campaña contra la tortura y el arraigo (CodigoDH, 14 de enero de 2013)

Firmar la petición de Stop Arraigo(ACAT France)

Arraigo: el PRI, contra su pasado (Cró, 21 de diciembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Mexico: UN Committee against Torture expresses grave concern for the practice of torture in Mexico (9 November 2012)

National: Amnesty International presents report regarding use of torture in Mexico (19 October 2012)

National: International judges report on conclusions of the observation of state of justice in Mexico (12 October 2012)

Chiapas: Presentation of report on torture in Chiapas “From Cruelty to Cynicism” (2 July 2012)

The OMCT condemns torture in Chiapas (18 August 2011)

Chiapas abolishes criminal preventive detention (arraigo) due to its violation of guarantees

August 18, 2011

Pitiquito (@SIPAZ)

On 25 July, the state Congress of Chiapas declared it had done with away with the practice of criminal preventive detention (arraigo), a precautionary measure on the part of the penal system, following the ratification by 78 municipalities of the reform-initiative to the state Constitution.  Chiapas thus is the first state to so do; the practice of community control has been strongly questioned by the United Nations, researchers, and human-rights defenders.

The Chiapas state-government promoted these modifications, closing the two centers found in the state used for this reason: one in Chiapa de Corzo (Pitiquito) and another in Tapachula.

For more information (in Spanish):

Chiapas deroga arraigo; “viola garantías” (El Universal, 26 July)

El espejismo de la detención arbitraria (El Universal, 26 July)

Chiapas clausura dos centros de arraigo (Milenio, 25 July)

Ratifican en Chiapas derogación de arraigo (El Universal, 25 July)

Llama obispo Arizmendi a eliminar el arraigo (La Jornada, 25 July)

En Chiapas, ni un solo arraigado (La Jornada, 22 July)

Congreso de Chiapas analiza eliminar el arraigo (El Universal, 19 July)

Chiapas: the eight indigenous tzeltales of San Sebastián Bachajón are moved to El Amate

May 6, 2009

On May 1, the eight indigenous tzeltales from the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón, who have been under arraigo (pre-charge detention) for 19 days in the house of arraigo “Quinta Pitiquitos”, were brought before a judge in Tuxtla Gutiérrez and later, moved to the State Center for Social Rehabilitation No. 14, El Amate, (CERSS No. 14, El Amate) in the municipality of Cintalapa. According to information from the Chiapas State Attorney General (PGJE) criminal charges of violence and organized robbery were brought against the six adherents to the Other Campaign, one Zapatista support base, and one other man not linked to any organization.

In addition, their photographs were published again in the media, identified as members of “criminal group, dedicated to attacking cars on the highway between Ocosingo and Palenque”, which is a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed presumption of innocence, and in addition stigmatizes them in the civil society. The Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de las Casas (CDHFBC) stated that “there exist many violations of due process in their judicial process, the most serious being the lack of a translator in their language, because of which the 8 detainees were forced to sign documents without knowing their content, which resulted in them signing declarations of guilt, not forgetting that 7 of them declared themselves guilty while being tortured”.

According to the investigation and documentation of the CDHFBC, the “systematic use of torture” especially while people are being moved, during arraigo, and while giving a formal statement, shows serious flaws in the protection and respect for the human rights of those under suspicion of having committed a crime in the state of Chiapas.

For More Information (in Spanish):

Denuncian abusos legales de autoridades chiapanecas en contra de ocho indígenas, La Jornada (3/5/2009)

Tras 19 días de detención arbitraria, consignan ante Juez a los ocho indígenas tseltales de la región Agua Azul, boletín Frayba (4/5/2009)

More Infromation from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: press conference regarding the events in the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, SIPAZ Blog, 4/30.

Chiapas: Urgent Action: Concern for the lives and judicial situation of detainees. Criminalization of social protest and of the work of human rights defenders, SIPAZ Blog, 4/28.

Chiapas: press conference regarding the events in the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón

April 30, 2009

Interview with the comisionado of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón (In Spanish)

On April 24 a press conference took place in the Human Rights Center Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (CDHFBC) with members of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, who are adherents to the Other Campaign. The members of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón denounced the detention in arraigo (pre-charge detention) of 8 men, detained and held incommunicado between April 13 and 18. They also denounced the actions of members of the Organization for the Defense of the Rights of Indigenous and Campesinos (OPDDIC) who collaborated with the Federal and State police during the repression of a roadblock in protest, and the destruction of the tollbooth at the entrance to Agua Azul on April 17.

The CDHFBC expressed concern regarding the militarization which the state has carried out and of the use of public security forces and laws to “discourage the population from organizing in defense of their human rights”. The Center also denounced that “in the last few months we have seen that the Mexican Government, on Federal, State, and municipal levels, has begun a policy of persecution and criminalization of movements and organizations of social dissidents”.

“The inhabitants of the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents to the Other Campaign, are part of an indigenous movement, which has opposed neoliberal plans involving the use of their land and exploitation of natural resources. For many years the region of Agua Azul has been a tourist zone whose many attractions have been administered and used by the tzeltal peoples of Bachajón. As an important part of the ecotourism project and the part of the Rivera Maya, it has been a focal point of the State Government for international investment.”

The case of the tzeltal people of San Sebastián Bachajón is an example of what is happening all over Latin America with native peoples who “reclaim their rights to the land and to auto-determination”.

“The context of these events shows a clear picture of the counterinsurgency, implemented by the Mexican Government and carried out by the Mexican Army and the Federal and State Public Security Forces”. The CDHFBC stressed that “the police operation was carried out with the help of military intelligence, which was revealed to CDHFBC by members of the State Government”.

Finally, it is important to mention that the eight detained under arraigo (pre-charge detention) continue in the house of arraigo “Quinta Pitiquito” in Chiapa de Corzo. The Center denounced that the system of arraigo, which since the judicial reform of June 2008 is constitutional in Mexico, continues being a “systematic violation of human rights” and that the house of arraigo is “a place of coercion and torture”.

For More Information (in Spanish):

Política de represión implementada por el Gobierno Mexicano contra indígenas del pueblo tseltal de la región de Agua Azul, Chiapas, CDHFBC (24/04/2009)

Palabras de los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón adherentes de La Otra Campaña EZLN (24/04/2009)

Boletín, Detención arbitraria de indígneas tseltales de Bachajón, Chilón, CDHFBC (16/04/2009)

Boletín, Operativo policíaco en contra de indígenas manifestantes de Bachajón, CDHFBC (17/04/2009)

Noticia, Solicitud de medidas cautelares ante detención arbitraria, CDHFBC (17/04/2009)

Chiapas: Marcelino Díaz González of “La Voz del Amate” released

October 17, 2008

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas) reported the release on 15 October, 2008, of Marcelino Díaz González, member of “La Voz del Amate”, an inmate organization and adherent to the Other Campaign based out of the State Center for the Social Reinsertion of Sentenced Prisoners (CERSS, Centro Estatal de Reinserción Social de Sentenciados) No. 14 “El Amate” in Cintalapa, Chiapas.

Marcelino Díaz González, born 2 June, 1980, from San Pedro Nixtal Uk’um, in the municipality of El Bosque, was a member of the campesina organization USISON and later became an adherent to the Other Campaign. He was detained 3 October, 2001 by the State Judicial Police (Policía Judicial del Estado) without an arrest warrant. According to Díaz’s testimony he suffered threats, beatings, and maltreatment such as the placement of a plastic bag over his head as well as being shut in a freezer for 12 hours. He was held under an administrative arrest (arraigo) for 30 days in an unofficial arraigo house, the Hotel Safari in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (no longer used to house individuals under arraigo).

The following link contains excerpts from an interview with members of “La Voz del Amate” (Spanish)

Audios de la conferencia de prensa por la liberación de un integrante de La Voz del Amate (Frayba, 15/10/2008)