Chiapas: Day of action for the release of Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal

November 21, 2015

Evento por la liberación de Alejandro Díaz Sántiz y Mumia Abu-Jamal. Foto: @Sipaz.

Event for the release of Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Photo: @Sipaz.

On 7 November there was held in San Cristóbal de Las Casas an event for the release of political prisoners Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and Mumia Abu-Jamal. The event was organized by the “We Are Not All Present” Work Group (GTNET), together with the participation of relatives of prisoners who organize to affirm their rights in different Chiapas-state penitentiaries. At the event, there was read several communiques and an art-making activity was installed to express support for the liberation of both prisoners.

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a U.S. journalist and former member of the Black Panther Party. He was incarcerated in 1982, accused of having murdered a police officer, though there is no evidence for this, and indeed considering testimony from witnesses who have come forward to declare that they were pressured into holding him responsible for the killing. Mumia was condemned by the judge “who is known to have condemned more Blacks to death than any other judge in the U.S.,” according to Nodo 50, in a country gripped by racism. During his 33 years in prison, Mumia has written nine books and produced more than 2,000 radio addresses. In March of this year, Mumia suffered serious health problems that were caused by a diabetic crisis, as the administration had denied him the necessary medical treatment. At present, he is slowly recovering.

Alejandro Díaz Santiz is an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle issued by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), being the only member of those in solidarity with the Voz del Amate who continues behind bars. Incarcerated since 1999, “he has not given up and while in prison he politicized himself and organized […] by participating in hunger strikes. To date, he has lent his voice to denounce the abuses that the authorities commit in the prison,” notes the GTNET. On 10 September, Alejandro was transferred without warning to the Federal Center for Social Reinsertion (CEFERESO) in Villa Comaltitlán, close to Tapachula. GTNET theorizes that “this forcible transfer is political vengeance from the bad government against Alejandro, punished for having supported and raising the consciousness of other prisoners. This brutal way of changing one’s prison, after having remained many years in the same place, is psycho-physical torture because it distances the prisoner from his family and network of friends.”

During the event, the conditions experienced at the state and national levels were also denounced, given that, according to a report from the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), “there is at present a 25.4% over-crowding of the prisons,” meaning that Mexican prisons hold more than 51,000 people beyond their capacity. In this way, the third visitor general of the CNDH argued that the crowding of prisons “is the result of the unmitigated use of imprisonment” amidst “excessive penal sentences,” leading to “violence, torture, abuse, and lamentable states of health and hygiene.”

For more information (in Spanish):

En Solidaridad con Alejandro Díaz Sántiz: nos organizamos contigo (CGT Chiapas, 9 de noviembre de 2015)

México: Jornada por la libertad de Alejandro Diaz Santiz y Mumia Abu Jamal (Amigos de Mumia México, 6 de noviembre de 2015)

México: Expresiones de solidaridad por Alejandro Díaz Santiz, preso injustamente y trasladado a un penal de máxima seguridad (Kaos en la Red, 16 de sepiembre)

Nuevo penal viola garantías de chiapanecos; “Velasco no quiere contradecir a su jefe EPN”: abogado (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 14 de abril de 2015)

El negocio del nuevo penal de Chiapas:”cualquier capo podrá pagar para tener menos vigilancia” (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 15 de abril de 2015)

El Estado hace uso excesivo de las cárceles: CNDH; hay un 25.4% de sobrepoblación, alerta (Sin Embargo, 14 de octubre de 2015)

La historia de Mumia (Nodo 50, sin fecha)

El lento asesinato de Mumia Abu-Jamal (Ojarasca, abril de 2015)

Carta abierta por la vida, salud y libertad de Mumia Abu-Jamal (SubVersiones, 14 de abril de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and 386 other prisoners transferred to high-security prison (8 October 2015)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz expresses his solidarity with the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and their families (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: new denunciation from prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis upon concluding fast (26 October 2014)

Chiapas: Prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis fasting to demand justice (11 October 2014)

Chiapas: 13 days of fasting and praying by Alejandro Díaz Santís to demand his release (14 July 2014)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz announces 10-day hunger strike to protest 15 years’ imprisonment (May 16, 2014)

Chiapas: day of fasting and prayer for Alejandro Díaz on International Political Prisoners’ Day (29 April 2014)

 


Chiapas: Chiapas state government refuses to investigate claims of torture in its prisoners

October 10, 2015

(@alainet.org)(@alainet.org)

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Center for Human Rights (Frayba) and the Collective against Torture and Impunity (CCTI) have denounced obstructions in the documentation and application of the Istanbul Protocol, which is recognized by Mexico as a means of avoiding the use of torture. Between 21 and 25 September, the government inhibited the entrance of two independent investigations into the Istanbul Protocol and members of the CCTI, as accompanied by Frayba personnel, in three state Centers for the Social Reinsertion (CERSS), so as to complete documentation and application work. Previously, eleven prisoners had denounced torture during their detention or within the Chiapas prisons—being in the majority indigenous. Those releasing this information presented different levels of harm with regard to their physical and mental health due to lack of medical and psychological attention, especially when in urgent need. Another aspect that left many indigenous prisoners more vulnerable has been the lack of adequate interpretation, both in their judicial processes, as in the prisons proper.

Despite the efforts made by the CCTI and Frayba to meet with several authorities regarding the denunciations that have emerged, these officials denied the experts access to the prisons. For Gilberto Hernández from Frayba, “this way of acting corresponds to an interest of maintaining impunity and avoiding all forms of investigation.” Among the prisoners who went to visit the experts was included Alejandro Díaz Santiz from the Voz del Amate collective, who on repeated occasions has denounced the miserable conditions faced by his comrades held in the CERSS. After his declarations, he was transferred on 11 September from the prison no. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas to a new Federal Center for Social Reinsertion (CEFERESO) no. 15 in Villa Comaltitlán, being a maximum-security prison. According to the information from the “We Are Not All Present” Workgroup (GTNET), this forcible transfer “is political vengeance from the bad government against Alejandro, who has been punished for supporting and raising the consciousness of other prisoners.”

Within the context in which the General Law on Torture is being discussed, the Chiapas state authorities have failed to express their interest in investigating acts of torture among prisoners, and so to provide greater credibility in terms of the protection of human rights of torture survivors.

For more information (in Spanish):

Presos denuncian malos tratos, discriminación e injusticias (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 29 de septiembre de 2015)

Niega gobierno de Chiapas investigar casos de tortura en sus penales (Desinformémonos, 28 de septiembre de 2015)

Gobierno de Chiapas obstruye la documentación de violaciones a los Derechos Humanos (Pozol, 25 de septiembre de 2015)

Indígena tsotsil es trasladado a penal de máxima seguridad, pese a “compromiso” de Velasco por obtener su libertad (Pozol, 13 de septiembre de 2015)

De la tortura al protocolo de Estambul (Amnistía Internacional, 9 de febrero de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and 386 other prisoners transferred to high-security prison (8 October 2015)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz expresses his solidarity with the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and their families (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: new denunciation from prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis upon concluding fast (26 October 2014)


Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Sántiz and 386 other prisoners transferred to high-security prison

October 8, 2015

Foto de archivo @ Revolución Tres Punto CeroArchive photo @ Revolución Tres Punto Cero

In the morning of 10-11 September, the political prisoner Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, being held at Jail No. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, being a member of the Voz del Amate and an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, was transferred together with 386 other prisoners from 13 state jails to the Federal Center for Social Reinsertion (CEFERESO) No. 15 in Villa Comaltitlán, close to the city of Tapachula. According to the Diario del Sur and other media, despite the risks posed to the prisoners due to ongoing construction at the CEFERESO, located on unstable ground, and the intense popular mobilizations opposed to the construction of the prison, the unit opened its door just days before the mass-transfer. It is capable of holding 2,500 prisoners. According to the “We Are Not All Present” Work Group (GTNET), the transfer was carried out by more than 2,000 police. During the operation, “high-risk” prisoners were prioritized for transfer, a claim that the GTNET characterized as “political vengeance from the bad government against Alejandro, punished for having supported and raising the consciousness of other prisoners,” given that Alejandro had carried out a work in favor of the defense of human rights within the prison’s walls. The GTNET indicated that “during this transfer the laws and codes of the proper System were violated, for Alejandro Díaz’s crime is not federal, and his life in prison cannot be considered as justifying the label of ‘high-risk.’”

Beyond this, prisoners from the San Cristóbal, including Roberto Paciencia Cruz, Lucio Hernandez Patishtán, and Juan de la Cruz Ruíz, have denounced the transfer and called on the “independent state organizations, national and international, to add your voices to our demand for the return of our comrade in struggle to this center.”

Beyond this, Alejandro Díaz, while on a 13-day hunger strike in July 2015, recalled Chiapas Governor Manuel Velasco Coello that he had two years prior committed himself to “finding those means or links with the authorities from Veracruz to obtain my release, a promise which to date” he has not observed. “Once again I ask the governor to fulfill his word.”

For more information (in Spanish):

El negocio del nuevo penal de Chiapas:”cualquier capo podrá pagar para tener menos vigilancia” (Revolución Tres Punto Cero, 15 de abril de 2015)

Trasladan a reos a nuevo penal (Diario del Sur, 11 de septiembre de 2015)

Presos injustos del CERESO 5 denuncian traslado de Alejandro Diaz Santiz, Solidario de la Voz del Amate (Koman Ilel, 10 de septiembre de 2015)

Indígena tsotsil es trasladado a penal de máxima seguridad, pese a “compromiso” de Velasco por obtener su libertad (Pozol Colectivo, 13 de septiembre de 2015)

Pronunciamiento del Grupo de Trabajo No Estamos Todxs “La lucha en las cárceles sigue“ (CGT Chiapas, 12 de septiembre de 2015)

Desde Europa: Solidaridad con Alejandro Diaz Santiz y los 400 presos que fueron trasladados a las prisiones de máxima seguridad (CGT Chiapas, 15 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz expresses his solidarity with the disappeared students of Ayotzinapa and their families (30 December 2014)

Chiapas: new denunciation from prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis upon concluding fast (26 October 2014)