Chiapas: OMCT releases Urgent Action in case of extrajudicial execution and torture in Tila

October 8, 2015

Mobilization by civil society for case of Tony Gutiérrez. Photo @Comité Digna Ochoa

On 18 September, the Global Organization against Torture (OMCT) released an urgent action for the case of a forcible disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial execution, this of Mr. Tony Reynaldo Gutiérrez López, which took place in the Tila municipality. The communique notes that “According to the received information, on 17 July 2015, Mr. Tony Reynaldo Gutiérrez López was arrested by municipal police from Tila as he was en route via public transit to the center of the Petalcingo community, Tila community, Chiapas state […]. On 24 July his corpse was found with signs of cruel torture in a ranch 2km from the Petalcingo community. On 27 July, relatives of Mr. Tony Reynaldo, together with ejidal authorities, members of civil society from Tila, and representatives of the Digna Ochoa Committee denounced the forcible disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial execution in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. However, the penal evidence […] only suggests that there has been launched an investigation into a ‘simple homicide.’” Furthermore, the communique mentions that after having denounced the case, Mrs. Cruz Pérez and other relatives had received death-threats on the part of members of groups who have links to paramilitary groups such as “Peace and Justice.”

In light of this situation, the OMCT requests that civil society write to the Mexican authorities demanding that they immediately adopt the necessary measures to guarantee the security of the relatives and representatives of Tony Gutiérrez, and carry out an immediate, independent, exhaustive, and impartial investigation into the case.

For more information (in Spanish):

México: Alegaciones de desaparición, tortura y ejecución extrajudicial del Sr. Gutiérrez López_temor por seguridad de familiares (OMCT, 18 de septiembre de 2015)

Urgen a investigar muerte de indígena chol (La Jornada, 21 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Ejidatarios from Tila denounce confrontation between PVEM and PRI, with 4 injured (21 July 2015)

Guerrero: March in Tlapa de Comonfort, one month after the murder of Antonio Vivar Díaz

July 22, 2015


Federal police invade the Tepeyac community, Tlapa, 7 June 2015. Photo @Tlachinollan

On 7 July, a month after the murder of Antonio Vivar Díaz, an activist from the Popular Guerrerense Movement (MPG), at the hands of federal police, some 2,000 teachers, retirees, and neighbors of the Tepeyac community marched in Tlapa to demand justice and punishment for those responsible. On 7 June, election day, Federal Police arrested eight people from El Tepeyac while lacking any arrest-orders. The tensions between the federal police and neighbors was controlled at about 8pm, when it was agreed that the 8 prisoners would be released and transferred to Tlapa, in exchange for 30 federal police who had been taken by the community. Regardless, this agreement was broken by the police and military, who entered forcibly using tear-gas to rescue the detained police. This action caused the death of the activist and teacher Antonio Vivar Díaz by gunshot.

The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, in a report on 7 July notes that “the victims of the grave human-rights violations […] find themselves in a very high-risk situation. For this reason it is critical that the State implement the necessary measures to protect the lives and physical and psychological integrity of the victims, witnesses, and all other residents of the Tepeyac community […].” In this way, on 7 July, the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) released an open letter to the Secretary for Governance and the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) which demands that “an immediate, exhaustive, effective, and impartial investigation be launched into these acts, particularly the death of Antonio Vivar Díaz,”

For more information (in Spanish):

Marchan maestros y estudiantes en Tlapa; exigen justicia por el activista asesinado por federales (El Sur de Acapulco, 8 de julio de 2015)

Los ocho de Tlapa no se conocían ni fueron detenidos en la CETEG (El Sur de Acapulco, 6 de julio de 2015)

OPINIÓN | Las ejecuciones del Ejército en Guerrero (CDHM Tlachinollan, 6 de julio de 2015)

Ficha Informativa (CDHM Tlachinollan, 7 de julio de 2015)

Carta Abierta (OMCT, 7 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: PRI wins elections within violent context (25 June 2015)

Guerrero: Murders and death-threats against candidates for June elections (17 May 2015)

National/International: International organizations call Mechanism for Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists into question

May 16, 2015


In a communique published on 29 April, international human-rights organizations expressed their concern that the National Mechanism for the Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico is “leaderless,” putting at risk its beneficiaries and applicants.  This acephalous situation has to do with the resignations in February and March of 2015 of Víctor Manuel Serrato, former director of human rights, and Lía Limón, subsecretary for juridical affairs and human rights at the Governance Ministry (SEGOB).

The groups warn that, “though Roberto Campa Cifraín has been named as the new subsecretary for juridical affairs and human rights, nearly two months have passed since the departure of the director on human rights, and there is little clarity regarding when this position will be covered once again in a permanent fashion.  The absence of management within the institution puts the Mechanism under a great deal of pressure and makes difficult the function for which it was established, thus increasing risk to human-rights defenders and journalists (both beneficiaries and applicants).”

The International Human Rights Federation (FIDH), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Jass  (Associates for Justice), the Latin America Working Group Education Fund, Peace Brigades International (PBI), the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), and the Global Organization against Torture (OMCT) have similarly expressed consternation amidst the serious lack of implementation of the Mechanism due to reduced budgets (according to members from the Consultative Council, the analysts within the Mechanism have themselves had to cover their travel expenses since October 2014), the lack of a physical space within the institute’s office to attend to beneficiaries and applications, the lack of follow-up training provided to the members of the Mechanism who work on temporary contracts.  They have also pointed to the lack of clarity in terms of criteria for review of cases, the lack of preventative measures, and the impunity in the cases of attacks on human-rights defenders and journalists.

To address these problems, the organizations make the following recommendations: to find a replacement director on human rights, to guarantee greater transparency within the operations of the Mechanism, in terms of the criteria that are used to accept or reject cases, and considering the follow-up that is done when precautionary measures are provided, as well as to improve the means by which the analyses of risk are carried out, to respond in a timely fashion to applications, and to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of all human-rights defenders and journalists “who are at risk as a result of their legitimate work, and who find themselves in high-risk situations during this latest crisis of leadership and the other problems that have been identified in terms of the implementation of the Mechanism for Protection.”

For more information (in Spanish):

“Acéfalo” el mecanismo de protección a activistas y comunicadores, denuncian ONG (Proceso, 30 de abril de 2015

Mecanismo de protección acéfalo pone en alto riesgo a defensores y periodistas: Brigadas de Paz (Página3, 30 de abril de 2015)

Comunicado conjunto: Organizaciones internacionales identifican fallas preocupantes en la implementación del Mecanismo Nacional de Protección a Personas Defensoras y Periodistas en México (OSC, 29 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: OMCT and FIDH urge protection of Simojovel priest

April 23, 2015

Padre Marcelo Pérez, parroco de Simojovej (@SIPAZ)

Padre Marcelo Pérez, priest from Simojovel (@SIPAZ)

In an Urgent Action published on 2 April, the Observatory for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders, comprised in part by the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) and the International Human Rights Federation (FIDH), called on the Mexican State to guarantee the security and physical and psychological integrity of the priest Marcelo Pérez Pérez, priest from the Simojovel municipality, who “has received constant death-threats, attacks, and harassment which threaten his life.”  Similarly, it requested security guarantees for the others members of the Parish Council and the Believing People who live here, as they also “have received death-threats.”

For this reason, the Observatory has called on the Mexican State to “carry out an immediate investigation that is independent, exhaustive, effective, and impartial regarding the threats and acts of intimidation, toward the end that those responsible are taken to a competent, independent, just, and impartial tribunal, and that the appropriate penal, civil, and/or administrative sanctions stipulated in the law.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Urgen a proteger a párroco chiapaneco amenazado (La Jornada, 7 de abril de 2015)

Urgen al gobierno garantías para párroco de Simojovel por amenazas(Proceso, 6 de abril de 2015)

Acción Urgente completa: México: Amenazas de muerte, hostigamiento, seguimiento y vigilancia en contra del Sr.Marcelo Pérez Pérez (OMCT, FIDH, 2 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: New threats against members of the Believing People in Simojovel after their fifth pilgrimage demanding security and peace (12 November 2014)

Chiapas: Urgent Action concerning threats to Marcelo Pérez, priest of Simojovel (28 June 2014)

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)

Guerrero: Torres reappears with signs of torture

December 29, 2008


Digna Ochoa y Placido [Source: Amnesty International]

On December 13 2008, Javier Torres Cruz, from the community of La Morena in the municipality of Petatlán, Guerrero, was able to escape his kidnappers. According to the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), during the 10 days in which Torres was missing, he was blindfolded and suffered beating and torture. The Urgent Action put out by Amnesty International states that upon his reappearance, he showed signs of “contusions and bruises, especially on his hands and continued to suffer abdominal pains.” According to Torres’ family members, it is most likely that he was being held by members of the Mexican Army.

It is important to mention that Javier Torres Cruz is a member of the Ecologist Organization of the Sierra of Coyuca and Petatlán (Organización Ecologista de la Sierra de Coyuca y Petatlán), a witness in the case of human rights defender Digna Ochoa y Placido, and has previously denounced being accosted by the military, police and armed and hooded civilians on several occasions. On November 13, 2008, 100 soldiers from the 19th Batallion of the Mexican Army entered his community and entered several homes in search of Torres and his brothers. In addition “they threatened, struck and prodded women and children with their weapons.”

More information:

Document – Mexico: Further information on possible disappearance/fear for safety: Javier Torres Cruz (AU, 18/12/08)

Guerrero: Key witness in the Digna Ochoa y Plácido case, Javier Torres Cruz, disappears (SIPAZ, 15/12/08)

More information in Spanish:

Seguimiento al caso Javier Torres Cruz, OMCT (19/12/2008)

Denuncia pública, CCTI, ANAD y Familiares (18/12/2008)

Golpeado y con huellas de tortura aparece el ecologista Javier Torres, La Jornada (16/12/2008)

Guerrero: Key witness in the Digna Ochoa y Plácido case, Javier Torres Cruz, disappears

December 15, 2008


According to an Urgent Action from the World Organization Against Torture, December 3, Javier Torres Cruz disappeared while on route to visit his sister Agustina Torres Cruz in Petatlán from his own community of La Morena. Family members began looking for Torres after a telephone conversation between he and his siter was abruptly dropped, however they were unable to find either Torres or his vehicle.

Torres Cruz is a member of the Ecologist Organization of the Coyuca and Petatlán Sierra in addition to being one of the principle witnesses for the Attorney General of the Federal District [Mexico City] (PGJDF, Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal) in their case regarding the death of lawyer and human rights defender Digna Ochoa y Plácido. Last year Torres Cruz testified along with his uncle Isaías Torres Rosas that the ex mayor of Petatlán and major landowner Rogaciano Alva Álvarez had ordered three gunmen to kill Digna Ochoa on October 19, 2001. Due to this testimony, the PGJDF recently opted to reopen the case. Isaías Torres Rosas was subsequently murdered in January of this year leaving Torres Cruz the sole remaining witness in the Ochoa case.

It is worth mentioning that on November 13, 2008, Torres Cruz’ community of La Morena was subject to a military operation consisting of 100 military personnel. According to several eyewitnesses, the same Rogaciano Alva Álvarez was present at the operation along with a group of armed civilians. The armed group remained in the community until the following morning. According the Mexican daily, La Jornada, the lawyer representing the family of Digna Ochoa, Manuel Fuentes Muñiz, pointed out that it is quite likely that Rogaciano Alva Álvarez is implicated in the disappearance of Javier Torres Cruz.

More information:

UA 336/08: Javier Torres Cruz (m), aged 28 (AI, 11/12/08)

More information in Spanish:

AU: MEX 111208 Presunta desaparición forzada/Temor por integridad personal (OMCT, 11/12/08)

AU: Desaparición forzada de Javier Torres Cruz (CCTI, 11/12/08)

Exigen aclarar desaparición de testigo que señala a autor de la muerte de Digna Ochoa (La Jornada, 11/12/08)


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