Chiapas: New denunciation from El Amate

April 2, 2009

Alberto Parishtán Gómez, professor, catechist, indigenous tzotzil, coordinator of the Catholic Pastoral Group in the prison, has been incarcerated for 8 years and 8 months. He is being held in the State Center for Social Rehabilitation (CERSS) number 14, El Amate, in Cintalapa de Figueroa, Chiapas. He is the last of the prisoners who, in 2008, started the longest and most important hunger strike in the state. In total, 47 prisoners were freed from 3 jails in Chiapas as part of the hunger strike. Alberto Parishtán, originally from the municipality of El Bosque in the Highlands, was detained on June 19, 2000 and accused of homicide, assault, and possession of firearms, among other crimes related to an ambush in which 6 police were killed and the son of the PRI-party municipal president Manuel Gómez Ruiz was wounded. A Federal court sentenced Patishtán to 60 years in the case number 126/2000.

The Committee of Ex-Prisoners and Family of Political Prisoners “Innocent Voices”, part of “La Voz de Amate” and “La Voz de los Llanos” and adherents to the Other Campaign and to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, demanded in a new communiqué the “immediate and unconditional release” of Alberto Patishtán. They called for “state, national, and international organizations to take whatever action is possible to demand the immediate and unconditional freedom for our friend and brother”. They also demanded the liberation of the political prisoners of San Salvador Atenco, incarcerated since May of 2006 for defending their land.

In another communiqué, the Committee of “Innocent Voices”, they denounced a police operation that took place in El Amate on March 21, which threatened “the physical safety of the population of prisoners, the stability, and safety of the prison. In addition there were women and children, visitors of the interns, who suffered fear and suffocation from the tear gas used by the State Preventative Police forces occupying the prison. Through these events, it is clear that the government does not respect human rights after committing this disproportionate use of force and forgetting its responsibility to care for the safety of visitors and all those in the prison.”

Last week, before this operation, there was an incident in which four prisoner’s lips were sown shut for demanding that the government review their cases. On March 23, 8 convicts belonging to the organizations, Independent Regional Campesino Movement (MOCRI) and the Emiliano Zapata Campesino Organization (OCEZ) began a hunger strike in order to demand that the state government review their cases, and consider that they were unjustly detained.

For More Information (In Spanish):

El Comité Voces Inocentes exige la libertad de Alberto Patishtán de La Voz del Amate, Zapateando (24/03/09)

Reprimen protesta de los internos en El Amate, Zapateando (21/03/09)

Presos de Chiapas se cosen los labios para demandar libertad, La Jornada (19/03/09)

Ocho reos de El Amate inician ayuno, La Jornada (23/03/09)

Exigen la libertad incondicional del profesor y dirigente tzotzil Alberto Patshtán Gómez, La Jornada (25/03/09)

Mexico: Prison issues intensified nationwide

December 3, 2008

On November 25, the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) acknowledged in the 2008 National Report on Prison Supervision, that “for the third consecutive year” Chiapas, along with 7 other states, “has failed [to meet] conditions” in terms of human rights. The CNDH also stated that, “the dysfunctional prison systems in the majority of the country is one of the weakest parts of public security”.

In the case of Chiapas, the beginning of a hunger strike by dozens of prisoners in three different prisons in February of this year exemplified the problems in prisons as one of the biggest issues with the justice system. As a whole and to date, the government of Chiapas has freed more than 300 prisoners, however this has been done without publishing a list of names, or information about their political or organizational affiliations. However, it is known that 41 of those released had participated in the hunger strike.

Among the prisoners who initiated the hunger strike, six people remain incarcerated, all of them members of the groups “La Voz de Amate” and “La Voz de Los Llanos”, organizations which are members of the Other Campaign.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Diagnóstico Nacional de Supervisión Pentienciaria 2008, CNDH (noviembre de 2008)

Se agrava la problemática en las cárceles del país, según analisís de la CNDH, La Jornada (26/11/2008)