Guerrero: further update in the Ayotzinapa case

December 29, 2014

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Photo @SinEmbargo

According to an investigation published by the Proceso magazine, federal forces participated in the attack on the disappeared students on 26 September 2014.  The work carried out with the support of the Program for Investigative Journalism at the University of California Berkeley, based on testimonies, videos, unedited reports, and judicial declarations, shows that the federal police (PF) actively and directly participated in the attack.  The article indicates the contradictions that exist between the account provided by the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) and the testimonies of those arrested, as well as those provided by students who survived the attack.  One of the key points in the investigation is that the Ayotzinapa students had been surveilled, such that the federal police knew of their arrival to Iguala.  It shows furthermore that the attack and forcible disappearance of the students was specifically directed at the ideological structure of the school they attended, given that of the 43 disappeared, one was a member of the Commitee for Student Struggle, the highest-ranking organ within the school’s administration, while 10 others were “budding political activists” associated with the Committee for Political and Ideological Orientation (COPI).

Beyond this, information has begun to appear in social networks that the majority of the disappeared students still live and are being held by the Army and federal police as part of a military intelligence operation.  The truth of these claims still has yet to be confirmed.  The communiqué was published presumably by soldiers of the Mexican Army who pertain to the 35th military zone (which includes Iguala); the sources in question no longer belong to the unit, as they were sent elsewhere or dismissed.  The objective of this operation, called “Az,” was to fracture “the transgressor groups of the school who disrupt order in Iguala by appropriating vehicles that are the property of the mayor, and bother people from various localities.”  According to the communiqué, “the transgressors were divided into 3 groups by military intelligence, with 21 sent to two military barracks for interrogation,” with the rest divided into two groups that were then sent to Cocula and Chilapa by municipal police and the “United Warriors” drug cartel.

Beyond this, on 14 December, confrontations in Chilpancingo, Guerrero, left 22 injured (14 of them teachers, parents, and students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, and 8 federal police).  The events took place when a group of students who were preparing a rock concert “A light in the darkness” were attacked with stones, beatings, and tear-gas by police.  “This is an act of police brutality that clearly seeks to silence the voices of the parents of the disappeared,” noted Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, lawyer for the Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights. Omar García, director of the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, related that despite the fact that the police had been told that “we were students, and that we were preparing the concert, they told us: ‘It matters not; we are going to even beat your mothers.'”  The parents of the disappeared accused the federal government of having provoked the incident deliberately.  The National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH) has launched an investigation into the events in question.

For more information (in Spanish):

Filtración: “Los normalistas de Ayotzinapa están vivos, los tiene el Ejército mexicano” (RT, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Iguala: la historia no oficial (Proceso, 13 de diciembre de 2014)

COMUNICADO | Agrede Policía Federal a estudiantes y familiares de desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa durante la preparación de jornada cultural(Tlachinollan, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Investiga la CNDH hechos violentos en Chilpancingo (Proceso, 14 de diciembre de 2014)

Caso Iguala: federales involucrados y tortura a testigos.- Anabel Hernández(Aristegui Noticias, 15 de diciembre de 2014)

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Chiapas: concern regarding threats faced by human rights defenders

July 15, 2009

In the last few weeks, we have noticed with more and more concern an increasing amount of threats faced by human rights defenders in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. The current situation reminds us of the events that occurred in 2006, especially in relation to La Otra Campaña, whereby members of the various movements and organization in the city faced similar situations of threat, all of which remain unresolved.

FACTS:

On the 2nd, 3rd and 4th May, a rare and disproportionate group of municipal police gathered outside the house of Daniel Luna Alcántara, member of the Frente Nacional de Lucha por el Socialismo (FNLS).

On the 7th, 11th, 14th and 18th of June various members of the municipal police, accompanied by a number of unknown vehicles, circulated the area within which Daniel Luna Alcántara lives. On various occasions, the FNLS took photos of the vehicles and took the details of the registration plates. In November 2008 there were a number of raids against members of the FNLS that occurred exactly after a press conference given by the FNLS during which they criticized members of the state and federal government.

On the 14th, 15th and 16th of June, the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (CDHFBC) reported having suffered threats by various unknown agents. It was reported that there were various vehicles without number plates stationed outside the house of the director of CDHFBC, Diego Cadenas Gordillo, as well as in the surrounding areas of the organization. At various moments it was noted that there were individuals inside the vehicles that were taking recording videos and taking photos of the centre, its building and of those who work there. At one moment, on the 16th June, Diego Cadenas approached a vehicle and asked those inside: “why are you following me?” The driver of the vehicle responded: “I’m not following you; I’m waiting for my sister”. Diego asked him, “Are you from the organization CISEN?” The man laughed and responded that he wasn’t. Diego and another member of CDHFBC tried to take photos with their mobile phones of the three men in the vehicle. The men subsequently covered their faces with their hats and the driver got his camera out and started taking more photos.

On the 19th June the director of CDHFBC noticed that a two people in a vehicle were watching him and taking photos with a camera. The behavior of the two individuals inside the vehicle suggested that they wanted Diego Cadenas to realize that he was being watched.

On the 15th and 18th June, the director general of Maderas del Pueblo del Sureste, Miguel Angel García Aguirre, received a number of phonecalls from a member of the ARIC, Unión de Uniones Histórica, warning him that he had a pending criminal sentence due to his involvement and support of armed groups based in the forest. Miguel Angel García Aguirre was urged to talk to Dr. Noel Rodas, the Technical Secretary of the State Government of Chiapas in order to clarify the issue. However, during the conversation with Dr. Noel Rodas, no clear information was given that could indicate that Miguel Angel García Aguirre had a pending criminal sentence. Furthermore, Dr. Noel Rodas asked Miguel Angel García Aguirre whether Daniel Luna Alcántara, member of the FNLS, had been involved in the organization of discussions about Montes Azules. It seemed as though he was trying to obtain contact details within the organization Maderas del Pueblo and to find out the specific dates of when Miguel Angel García was going to be in Chiapas.

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