Guerrero: OFPM leader released; he receives death-threats upon leaving prison

April 2, 2012

Maximinio being released @ Tlachinollan

On 20 March 2012, Maximino García Catarino, indigenous director of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM) who has been awarded precautionary measures by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR), as released unconditionally after having been arbitrarily detained on 21 January 2012 by the Ministerial Police of Ayutla de Los Libres.  His release was made possible thanks to the support of his organization and the intense work of defense, documentation, and distribution of information as carried out by the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights.

The Superior Tribunal for Justice of Guerrero concluded that the judge had not adequately taken into account the evidence presented by Maximino and also had ignored the contradictions of the two material witnesses.  For these reasons it decided to revoke the jail sentence, given that there was insufficient evidence to process the indigenous defender.

“The decision of the Superior Tribunal for Justice of Guerrero to release Maximino García is a recognition of his unjust arrest,” said Rupert Knox, investigator for Amnesty International (AI) in Mexico.  Furthermore, AI requested that the authorities guarantee Maximino García’s security, as he finds himself in immediate danger of attacks by those who falsely accused him of the charges for which he was imprisoned.  AI notes that during the time he was incarcerated, Maximino was a prisoner of conscience.

According to Tlachinollan’s communiqué, the justice system continues to be used against the work of human-rights defenders.  They also claim that there exists a tendency toward criminalization that is translated into the creation of false evidence, and that the justice system lacks impartiality and independence.

Some minutes after leaving the Ayutla jail, Maximino García received a telephone call threatening him with death if he did not suspend his work in defense of justice for his community of Juquila.  Maximino denounced that “they told me that I should not have been released, that they would kill me either today or during the week, because I demand justice for the rights of the indigenous.”

“We have demanded that the government respect our rights, that it give us access to education and health, but the government instead meets us with repression, imprisonment, and the repression of voices that demand justice such as my own case or that of Álvarzo Ramírez,” he noted.

For his part, the judicial coordinator for Tlachinollan, Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, claimed that the incarceration of Maximino is evidence that in Guerrero “there is systematic persecution against human-rights defenders,” and he claimed it as worrying that the justice system continues to be used to persecute human-rights defenders and to silence the voices of the indigenous.

For more information (in Spanish):

Amnistía Internacional recibe con satisfacción la liberación del activista indígena Maximino García (Boletin de prensa, 21 de marzo 2012)

Libre Maximino García Catarino; fue preso de conciencia: AI (Centro ProDH, 22 de marzo 2012)

Tlachinollan saluda la libertad absoluta del defensor indígena Na Savi Maximino García Catarino (Comunicado CDH Tlachinollan, 21 de marzo 2012)

Amenazan de muerte a dirigente de la OFPM (La Jornada, 22 de marzo 2012)

Amenazaron de muerte a Maximino García apenas dejó la cárcel, denuncia (La Jornada Guerrero, 22 de marzo 2012)

Libera tribunal a indígena de Guerrero (Milenio, 22 de marzo 2012)

Ordenan magistrados dar libertad incondicional a Maximino García (La Jornada Guerrero, 21 de marzo 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Spanish lawyers confirm the innocence of Maximino García (12 March 2012)

Guerrero: OFPM activist is detained despite having precautionary measures (27 January 2012)

Guerrero: briefs – Attack on OPFM leader (3 September 2011)

Guerrero: Leader of the OFPM liberated (25 June 2011)