Today marks nine years, two months and 29 days that Professor Alberto Patishtan Gomez has been in jail. Patishtan has been sentenced to 60 years in prison for homicide, assault, robbery and possession of firearms among other criminal charges. He is also the only political prisoner of the group “Voice of Amate” to remain behind bars after a hunger strike in 2008 led to the release of more than 300 prisoners in Chiapas, including 47 who had just completed the hunger strike.
On September 9th in San Cristobal de Las Casas an organization of ex-political prisoners and their family members called Innocent Voices, denounced the fact that “the government of Juan Sabines Guererro has made Patishtan Gomez into a political hostage.” They went on to say “despite the fact that Patishtan has shown his innocence legally through a review of records, he still hasn’t attained the freedom he deserves.”
According Innocent Voices, “the government has washed its hands of the situation, saying it’s a federal offense and they have no jurisdiction to resolve it.” They went on to say the state government calls itself “a government of justice, peace and dialogue” and always calls attention to the fact that there are no political prisoners being held unjustly, but in the end “we realize that in this is a government with little ability or political will.” Innocent Voices concluded their statement by demanding Patishtan’s immediate and unconditional release as well as the removal of any obstacles imposed on people wishing to visit him.
Alberto Patishtan’s case is generating action around the world. A few weeks ago the Swiss organization Peacewatch Switzerland carried out a campaign for his release and collected signatures that were then delivered to Human Rights Center Fray Bartolome de Las Casas. The Swedish organization SweFOR, Swedish Movement for Reconciliation, also began a campaign demanding his release. Signatures were collected demanding his release on September 21st in Stockholm.
For more information (in Spanish):
More information from SIPAZ:
The Voice of Amate (La Voz del Amate) Speaks (August 2009)