Guerrero – Briefs: PGJE denigrates the killing of Lorenzo Fernandez; NGOs continue to pressure for the release of Raul Hernández

July 12, 2010

Two years and five months after the murder of Lorenzo Fernández Ortega, brother of Inés Fernández Ortega, who was raped by soldiers in 2002, the Attorney General of the State of Guerrero (PGJE) has presented a homicide suspect. The PGJE has concluded that the killing resulted from a conflict that arose during a drinking binge.

The defense has argued that on February 9, 2008, Lorenzo was subject to enforced disappearance.  A day later, he was found dead – with his body showing visible signs of torture – in the river that runs through the city of Ayutla. Lorenzo was a member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) and played an important role in defending human rights of indigenous people from their region. He actively campaigned to denounce the acts carried out against his sister, Inés Fernández, and supported the denunciations in the case brought before the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights (CODDEHUM) concerning the 14 indigenous women of El Camalote who were forcibly sterilized by the Ministry of Health in 1998.

In a July 5th communiqué, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, the Guerrero Network of Human-Rights Organizations (Red Guerrerense), and OPIM denounced that Tlachinollan, as collaborator in the case, only had a limited access to the advances of the investigation and that the conclusion that the homocide had been the result of a drinking binge denigrates Lorenzo Fernandez as a defender of human rights.

On the same day, Amnesty International (AI) released an Urgent Action demanding the immediate release of political prisoner Raúl Hernández, a member of OPIM.  He was detained on April 17, 2008 and accused of the murder of Alejandro Feliciano García, committed on January 1, 2008. On June 30, 2010, the judge presiding over the trial of this defender of human rights and indigenous peoples closed the evidentiary phase of his trial for murder. The crime-scene investigation conducted by the judge confirmed that the statements of witnesses who claimed that Raul Hernandez was present at the time of the murder were unreliable. AI called on civil society to demand the release of Hernandez from the PGJE in a letter to be sent before August 14, 2010. (See Urgent Action below).

Finally, on July 6th, the Solicitor’s International Human Rights Group (SIHRG) published a report regarding the situation of Raúl Hernández. In the report, the organization emphasized that the incarceration of Hernández was based on lies and that there exists no evidence of his participation in the criminal acts for which he has been accused. The SIHRG expressed profound worry over the case of Hernández and claimed it to be willing to take further measures to protect the human-rights defender.

For more information (in Spanish):

Joint communiqué by Tlachinollan, the Guerrero Network, and OPIM (5 July)

Amnesty International campaign for the release of Raúl Hernández

Amnesty International Urgent Action: Key moment in the trial for murder of activist (5 July)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Briefs–CECOP receive precautionary measures; Report on human rights; Civil society organizations continue asking for the liberation of Raúl Hernández (5 July 2010)

Guerrero: Briefs – CECOP receive precautionary measures; Report on human rights; Civil society organizations continue asking for the liberation of Raúl Hernández

July 5, 2010

On the 1st of July, the first nullification hearing was held before the Agrarian Court (TUA) by the members of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Opposed to La Parota Dam (CECOP). They asked for an annulment of the assembly held on April 28 of this year that approved the expropriation of 300 thousand hectares for the construction work on the La Parota dam. The TUA granted injunctions that would prevent the undertaking of work related to the hydroelectric project.

On the same day, a report about the situation of human rights in Guerrero was presented publicly in Chilpancingo. Civil society organizations denounced new threats against human rights defenders before international organisms such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mexico (OACNUDH). The president of the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña, Abel Barrera Hernández, mentioned that in Guerrero 178 human rights defenders have received precautionary warnings, reflecting the critical situation in which they find themselves. Various organizations were present, including the Network of Guerrerense Civil Organizations for Human Rights, the Collective Against Torture and Impunity  and the Regional Center for the Defense of Human Rights José María Morelos y Pavón. In turn, government officials who were invited did not attend the event. Abel Barrera lamented missed opportunity for dialogue between the state government and civil society organizations. Within this context, they continued to demand the immediate release of Raúl Hernández, who remains imprisoned in the jail Ayutla despite having already proved his innocence.

In fact, on the 30th of June, Tlachinollan and the Organization of Me’phaa Indgenous People (OPIM) released a communique together, asking the state Attorney General to present no accusatory conclusions in the case against Raul Hernandez. The document included an Urgent Action in which the two organizations asked people to send letters to the state Attorney General of Guerrero to push for a decision favorable to Hernandez.

For more information (in Spanish):

The TUA grants precautionary measures to impede the CFE’s construction of La Parota (La Jornada, 2 July)

Organizations: threats against rights-defenders persist (La Jornada, 2 July)

Joint communiqué from the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights and OPIM: Demand that the State Attorney General’s Office present non-accusatory conclusions (1 July)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero – Briefs: Detention of FODEG member, Raúl Hernández receives threats and announcement of the commemoration of the massacre of Aguas Blancas (30 June)

Guerrero – Briefs: Detention of FODEG member, Raúl Hernández recieved threats and announcement of the commemoration of the massacre at Aguas Blancas

June 30, 2010

On the morning of June 21, Bertoldo Martínez Cruz, member of the Front of Democratic Organizations  of the state of Guerrero (FODEG), was accused of  alleged robbery and other grievances by the City Council of Ayutla. He was released later that same day after it was demonstrated that his arrest was based on charges that Attorney General of Guerrero had retired in 2001. However, Bertoldo Martinez, who is also the coordinator of the Collective Against Torture and Impunity (CCIC), said that his detention “was not a mistake” and that in fact it was ordered three months ago. Bertoldo Martínez has been known as a member of the social struggle since 1973, when he was a political prisoner and tortured during the last years of the 90s, for his work against impunity in the case of Aguas Blancas. In a press conference, the Governor of Guerrero, Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo, denied that his government has criminalized social struggle and affirmed that they will continue to detain people with arrest warrants against them.

On the 22nd of June, Amnesty International (AI) released an Urgent Action in support of the prisoner of conscience, Raúl Hernández, who had recieved threats from inmates in the jail of Ayutla de los Libres. In the Urgent Action, AI asked the authorities to provide protection  to Raúl Hernández  and requested again his immediate release for having been detained unjustly. Moreover, Raúl Hernández, through the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña, sent a letter to the Superior Court of Justice (TSJ), on 21 June. In his letter, Hernández requested that the TSJ end the process with a fast and just sentence, in consideration of the fact that his lawyers have evidence showing his innocence. Raúl Hernández, member of the Organization of the Indigenous Me’phaa People (OPIM), was incarcerated in 2008, accused of murdering an army informant. He was adopted as a prisoner of conscience by AI because of his wrongful imprisonment.

Finally, the leader of the Popular Organization of Producers of Guerrero (OPPEG), Luis Enriquez Olivares, reported that 15-years after the slaughter of Aguas Blancas,  a rally will be convened commemorating massacre on the days of June 27th and 28th with 25 organizations attending. The event starts June 27 with a political-cultural event and will continue the next day with a caravan that will end with an offering of flowers and holding a mass for the fallen.

For more information (in Spanish):

Detienen a Bertoldo Martínez activista del FODEG (Medios Informativos , 21 de junio)

BOLETIN DE PRENSA Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad ( (CCTI, 21 de junio)

Mi arresto no fue por una confusión, se ordenó desde hace tres meses: Bertoldo (La Jornada, 23 de junio)

Condenan organizaciones la detención de Bertoldo y de maestros cetegistas (El Sur de Acapulco, 25 de junio)

No negociaré órdenes de arresto con nadie, advierte Torreblanca Galindo (La Jornada, 23 de junio)

Acción Urgente Amnistía Internacional (22 de junio)

Urge proteger la vida de Raúl Hernández: AI (La Jornada, 22 de junio)

Hernández exige sentencia al Tribunal (La Jornada, 23 de junio)

Carta completa de Raúl Hernandez al Tribunal Superior de Justicia

Llama OCSS a que candidatos no usen matanza de campesinos como foro (La Jornada, 22 de junio)

Asegura OPPEG que habrá un solo acto por la matanza de Aguas Blancas (La Jornada, 24 de junio)

Guerrero – Briefs : Police detain a leader of the OFPM/ Anniversary of El Charco

June 19, 2010

Leaders of OFPM disappeared and murdered in 2009.

On Sunday, June 6, the Ministerial Investigative Police (PIM) detained Álvaro Ramírez Concepción, a leader of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM),  in the zócalo of Ayutla de los Libres. He is accused of the murder of Andrés Feliciano Modesta and the attempted murder of Policarpo Patriarca Agustín, events of November 15, 2009 in the vicinity of Ayutla de los Libres. The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña declared that the accusations were fabricated and that the judge, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, denied adequate defense to the Mixteco leader. They charged that the judge rejected evidence in Ramírez Concepción’s defense and that the copies of the dossier arrived 24 hours late after the request of Tlachinollan.

There are also arrest warrants for Luis García Catarino, treasurer of the OFPM, as well as Victoriano y Alicio Ponce Lola, brothers of the human rights defender, Manuel Ponce Rosas who was disappeared, tortured and murdered in February of 2009. Tlachinollan released an Urgent Action asking for the immediate release of the Mixteco leader and an end to the repression against indigenous organizations OFPM  and the Organization of the Me´phaa Indigenous People (OPIM).

Furthermore, on June 7, an event was organized to commemorate the 12 year anniversary of the massacre at El Charco (also in the municipality of Ayutla de los Libres), in which 11 peasants were killed by the Mexican Army. Various indigenous, peasant, social and human rights organizations participated, such as Tlachinollan, the Workshop for Community Development (TADECO), OPIM and OFPM. The director of Tlachinollan, Abel Barrera Hernández, lamented that 12 years after the massacre of El Charco, “they continue to encourage the presence of the military to end the lives of indigenous peoples and peasants”.

For more information:

Detiene la policía de Ayutla al dirigente mixteco de la OFPM Álvaro Ramírez (La Jornada, 10 de junio)

Fabrican acusación de homicidio contra un dirigente mixteco de Ayutla, denuncia Tlachinollan (El Sur Acapulco, 11 de junio)

Irregularidades y omisiones en juicio de indígena defensor Na´savi en Ayutla (Boletín de prensa /Tlachinollan, 10 de junio)

A 12 años de la masacre de El Charco, Guerrero (Boletín de prensa /Tlachinollan, 8 de junio)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Torreblanca acepta revisar la investigación del asesinato de Raúl y Manuel (9 de enero 9 de 2010)

Guerrero: ONGs denuncian graves negligencias en la investigación de las ejecuciones de 2 lideres mixtecos (5 de enero de 2010)

Guerrero: 2nd anniversary of the imprisonment of Raúl Hernández

April 23, 2010

On April 17, the Tlachinollan-Mountain Human Rights Center released a communiqué to mark the second anniversary of the detention of Raúl Hernández, human rights defender and member of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) who,  since his incarceration, has been recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience.

Declaring that Hernández was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, the communiqué states that human-rights organizations marked the day by issuing statements in his support. The Mexico Office of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights for the United Nations (OHCHR) also issued a press release that called on the Mexican government to observe “international human rights standards” in this case, as in others.

The communiqué states that the detention of Hernández represents part of a repression-policy directed at OPIM.  It also states that Dep. Filemón Navarro and Senator Lázaro Mazón of Guerrero would mark the anniversary by visiting Hernández and demanding his immediate release.

For more information (in Spanish):

Tlachinollan-Mountain Human Rights Center communiqué, 17 April

OHCHR press-release (17 April)

Amnesty International demands release of indigenous leader (La Jornada, 17 April)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero:  4 of the 5 jailed human rights defenders are freed (19 March 2009)

Guerrero: Andrea Eugenio Manuel, indigenous activist and sister to Obtilia, is threatened with death

March 26, 2010

In her complaint filed before the Public Ministry on 19 March, Andrea Eugenio Manuel explained that, on 17 March at approximately 4:30pm, while she awaited friends in front of a vegetable grocer “a stranger approached and began taking pictures.  [Manuel] demanded an explanation of him, but he responded by saying, ‘Soon, you’re going to get fucked over'” (La Jornada).

Andrea Eugenio Manuel has worked for years to defend the human rights of the Me’phaa people.  She has “served as translator […] in the cases of soldiers who raped Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosenda Cantú.  She has also accompanied indigenous women […] from Ayutla de los Libres in their public legal denunciations of units of the Mexican military that have harassed communities and violated their human rights.  Andrea also participated as translator in the denunciation and complaint process presented by 14 indigenous individuals from El Camalote, municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, who were forcibly sterilized by personnel of the Health Ministry” (La Jornada).

This latest death-threat directed at Andrea took place 11 days after she denounced similar aggression against her sister Obtilia, president of the Organization of the Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM).  Recently, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, which has been accompanying OPIM in its condemnations of human-rights violations, has also been subjected to harassment.  Both organizations have since April 2009 been granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights.

Together with the Guerrero Network, the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights and OPIM declare that “These increased death-threats and acts of harassment directed at human-rights defenders from Guerrero occur as a precursor to the hearing made by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights in the case of Inés Fernández Ortega during her hearings in April […].  We are concerned that obscure interest-groups are attempting to silence victims and witnesses just before the hearing that will be realized in the next few days, and that the State is trying to evade having to engage in an exhaustive investigation that would allow for the identification and sanctioning of those responsible.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Obtilia’s sister, who has supported complaints made by indigenous women raped by soldiers, is menaced with death (press release by Tlachinollan, OPIM, and the Guerrero Network, 22 March)

OHCHR condemns harassment and death-threats that persist against defenders in Guerrero (press release by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, 23 March)

Indigenous activist is threatened with death in Guerrero (La Jornada, 23 March)

Tlachinollan:  The sister of OPIM’s Obtilia Eugenio is threatened (La Jornada, 23 March)

The UN condemns harassment of indigenous defenders protected by the CIDH (Cronica de Hoy, 24 March)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero:  New Threats against Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, president of OPIM and witness in the Ines Fernandez Ortega vs. Mexico case (17 March)

Guerrero: New Threats against Obtilia Eugenio Manuel, President of the OPIM and Witness in the Inés Fernández Ortega vs. Mexico case

March 17, 2010

On Wednesday, March 6, 2010, Obtilian Eugenio Manuel—an indigenous Me´phaa, human rights defender in the state of Guerrero, president of the Organization of the Me´phaa Indigenous Peoples (OPIM, Organización del Pueblo Indígena Me´phaa) and, since April 2009, a recipient of provisional measures ordered by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights—was again the victim of threats made in an anonymous letter directed to her that was found in the OPIM offices.

It is important to note that Obtilia is also a witness in the cases of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú which will be studied this year by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR). Both women, of the indigenous Me´phaa people, were raped and tortured by members of the military in 2002 amidst a context of repression against social movements and indigenous organizations in the state of Guerrero. To date the cases have not been investigated, the responsible parties have not been sanctioned and there has been no compensation for the damages.

In a public declaration, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña emphasized: “The majority of the cases of attacks against human rights defenders in the state of Guerrero the facts have not been brought to light, the responsible parties have not been tracked down or been subjected to an indictment under the law. The impunity, the total absence of any investigation or access to justice has made human rights defenders in Guerrero more vulnerable. When the State refuses to comply with its duty to guarantee and protect [the rights defenders] the message is one of impunity for the offenders.”

For More Information:

Account of the events linked to new threats against Obtilia Eugenio Moreno (Tlachinollan, English)

Declaration from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of the Montaña (English,16/3/2010)

Amnesty International Urgent Action: Indigenous human rights defender in danger (15/3/2010)

Letter from Tlachinollan and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) soliciting support for the case of Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantú (Spanish)

More Information from SIPAZ:

Guerrero: Continued Harassment and Attacks against Human Rights Defenders (Spanish, March 2009)