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)

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Chiapas: Polluted water given to prisoners at Prison No. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas

June 29, 2015

Foto @ Chiapas Paralelo

Photo @ Chiapas Paralelo

Alejandro Díaz Santiz, currently held in Prison No. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, who is organized in solidarity with the Voz del Amate and adheres to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, has called on the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and the State Commission on Human Rights (CEDH) to intervene within the prevailing situation of lack of potable water being consumed in the institution. He denounced that the water comes from a deteriorated cistern that contains fissures, such that sewage from the prison enter. He postulated this as being the reason for diarrheal and dermatological diseases.

The promise made by director Pascual Martínez Cervantes is that he will resolve this problem; however, this problem has existed for a long time, and we have seen an increasing trend of more ill prisoners,” he explained to Chiapas Paralelo. He added that within the prison purified water is sold, but the prisoners lack the means with which to buy it.

For more information (in Spanish):

Reos del penal de San Cristóbal consumen agua contaminada, piden intervención de CNDH (Chiapas Paralelo, 15 de junio 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)

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: During the XVII anniversary of the Acteal massacre, Las Abejas denounce impunity and affirm, “They could not kill our roots”

December 30, 2014

XVII Aniversario de la MAsacre de Acteal (@SIPAZ)

XVII Anniversary of the Acteal massacre (@SIPAZ)

17 years after the Acteal massacre, the Las Abejas Civil Society organized a series of activities held in this same community.  On 21 December, a forum combined testimonies with prayers.  During this event participated Franciscan monks from the “72” migrant-home from Tenosique, Tabasco; the relatives of the disappeared students of the Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero; the father of Alejandro Díaz Santis, prisoner in the San Cristóbal jail and a member in solidarity with the Voz del Amate; the catechist Margarita Martínez Álvarez from El Limar, Tila municipality, in the northern zone of Chiapas, a region that also suffered murders, forcible disappearances, and massive displacements between 1995 and 2000; as well as representatives of the displaced from Banavil, Tenejapa municipality.  It was stressed that all these processes should be united, not just based on shared pain, but also in terms of the search for justice and hope.

XVII Aniversario de la masacre de Acteal (@SIPAZ)

XVII Anniversary of the Acteal massacre (@SIPAZ)

On 22 December, following a pilgrimage, a mass was celebrated with the presence of hundreds of persons.  The Las Abejas Civil Society denounced in a communique that “17 years, four presidents, and two political parties in power have passed since the bad government of Ernesto Zedillo to the [present] bad government of Enrique Peña Nieto.  Not one has had the dignity, humanity, or decency to apply justice and recognize the truth of the Acteal massacre.”  The bishop Felipe Arizmendi stressed for his part that “it is unconscionable that nearly all those imprisoned for this crime have been absolved, just because there were judicial deficiencies in their legal processing, not because they were innocent.”  It should be recalled that only two persons remain imprisoned for the crime of the Acteal massacre, and these two have had their sentences reduced from 36 to 18 years imprisonment.

Obispo Felipe Arizmendi (@SIPAZ)

Bishop Felipe Arizmendi (@SIPAZ)

Felipe Arizmendi noted that, though “so many years [have passed] of demanding justice and being ignored, […] we will all continue to demand and ask for justice.  We cannot resign ourselves passively to silence.”  The Las Abejas Civil Society used a fragment of the Mayan book Popul Vuh to affirm the same: “They took our fruits, cut off our branches, and burned our trunk, but they could not kill our roots.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de la Sociedad Civil de Las Abejas de Acteal (Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

La Fraternidad, impulso y fuerza de la Resistencia. #Acteal #17Años(Koman Ilel, Cobertura del 22 de diciembre de 2014)

Es la historia de tod@s. Crónica de conmemoración diecisiete de la masacre ocurrida en el paraje de #Acteal (Koman Ilel, cobertura del 21 de diciembre de 2014)

Ningún presidente ha hecho justicia a 17 años de la masacre de Acteal: Las Abejas (Proceso, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

A 17 años, conmemoran con misa masacre de Acteal (La Jornada, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

Padres de normalistas encabezan marcha en Acteal, Chiapas (Radio Fórmula, 22 de diciembre de 2014)

Llegan representantes de Ayotzinapa a Acteal para conmemorar masacre(La Jornada, 21 de diciembre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Three of the remaining five prisoners held for the Acteal massacre are released (6 December 2014)

Chiapas: New communique from Las Abejas, five years after the release of those responsible for the Acteal massacre (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: indigenous organizations and communities also affected by “counterinsurgency and war of extermination” express their solidarity with the EZLN (9 June 2014)

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society challenges Mexican justice system and continues demanding justice (2 May 2014)

Chiapas: Case against Zedillo for Acteal massacre is dismissed (21 July 2013)

Chiapas: Commemoration of 20th anniversary of Las Abejas and coming 15th anniversary of the Acteal massacre (21 December 2012)


Chiapas: new denunciation from prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis upon concluding fast

October 26, 2014


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On 21 October, Alejandro Díaz Santis, a prisoner in solidarity with the Voz del Amate who adheres to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle presently held in the San Cristóbal de Las Casas jail, published a new communique.  He denounced that “the bad governors who exist in our country and state each day seek to silence those who defend the people: they send people to kill them and unjustly imprison others, a lamentable tendency that has recurred in the state of Guerrero with our comrade brothers and students who have been disappeared by the three levels of government.”

He added that “during the 20 days of fasting and prayers I was observing against injustice and imprisonment until all of those who are incarcerated are released, not one governmental official came to visit me here.”

The prisoner reported finally that since 16 October, his lawyers have requested a formal pardon from the governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte de Ochoa, and Manuel Velasco Coello, governor of Chiapas.  Díaz Santis clarified that he has “spent 15 years and five months paying for a crime that I never committed.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alejandro Díaz Santíz denuncia que los gobernantes buscan callar a la gente (Denunciapública, 21 de octubre de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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: Denunciation from Alejandro Díaz Santis from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas jail (30 March 2014)


Chiapas: Denunciation by Alejandro Díaz Santis from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas jail

March 30, 2014

alejandro.normal

On 18 March, Alejandro Díaz Santis, a member in solidarity with the “Voz del Amate” and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle of the EZLN who is held in CERESO no. 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, denounced abuse directed against prisoners as administered by the new director of the prison, Juan Jose Trujillo Cruz.

He mentioned in particular that visits by relatives and friends have been denied, “that the medical area lacks medications and even basic goods such as alcohol for sterilizing purposes,” and that corruption has been rampant since the new director’s arrival.

Para más información:

Denuncia Alejandro Díaz Santiz al director del Ceress5 (CGT, 20 de marzo de 2014)

Empeora el trato dado a los internos de la cárcel estatal de San Cristóbal de Las Casas (La Jornada, 26 de marzo de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Santis announces fast to demand freedom (15 January 2014)

National: Patishtán requests that Peña Nieto release all prisoners who are unjustly imprisoned (9 December 2013)

Chiapas: 9 prisoners in solidarity with the Voz del Amate released, but Patishtán will remain imprisoned (20 July 2013)


Chiapas: Denunciation of death threats in Prison No. 5 of San Cristóbal

December 8, 2013

Imagen @ CGT Chiapas

Image @ CGT Chiapas

Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, prisoner in solidarity with the Voz del Amate, who continues to be held in Prison No. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, made public a denunciation on 28 November regarding the situation of the prisoner Miguel Antonio López Santiago, who on 19 November initiated a hunger strike to demand justice and freedom.  “During the 10 days he has been [on hunger strike], he has only received death-threats and psychological torture from the Lobo group [Wolf], the chief of security Juan Gabriel Soberano Pimentel, saying that they will force him to eat if he does not cancel his protest.”  He continues: “with this we ask that his rights be respected, because each prisoner has the right to protest insofar as that be peaceful.”

For his part, Alejandro Díaz called on state governor Manuel Velasco Coello to observe his commitment to find a means of connecting with the authorities of Veracruz to obtain freedom for Díaz Sántiz, “but to date no response has been had.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Denuncia de Alejandro, Solidario de la Voz del Amate (CGT Chiapas, 28 de noviembre de 2013)


Chiapas: 9 prisoners in solidarity with the Voz del Amate released, but Patishtán will remain imprisoned

July 20, 2013

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Rosario Días Méndez, released after 8 years’ imprisonment. Photo @SIPAZ

On 4 July 9 prisoners who adhere to the EZLN’s Sixth Declaration were released from the San Cristóbal prison, following three days of waiting after their forthcoming release had been announced (on Tuesday).  Outside the prison, in rain and shine, their mothers, wives, and children awaited them.  Governor Manuel Velasco Coello arrived to the prison to hand over to the indigenous their acts of release, after having interviewed each one.  Those who were allowed to leave prison no. 5 include the following: Rosario Díaz Méndez, Pedro López Jiménez, Juan Collazo Jiménez, Juan Díaz López, Rosa López Díaz, Alfredo López Jiménez, Juan López González, and Benjamín López Díaz.  The professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, member of the Voz del Amate who has been imprisoned for 13 years, will remain incarcerated together with Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, a prisoner in solidarity with the Voz del Amate. During the night, the liberated indigenous ex-prisoners came to the San Cristóbal cathedral to visit the tomb of former bishop Samuel Ruiz García.

For more information (in Spanish):

Liberan a nueve indígenas en Chiapas; Patishtán seguirá preso (La Jornada, 5 de julio de 2013)

Demoran tres días en liberar a presos porque… esperaban al gobernador (Proceso, 4 de julio de 2013)

Obtienen su libertad ocho presos de la Voz del Amate. Patishtán continúa tras las rejas. (Desinformemonos, julio de 2013)

Especial: Días cruciales para lograr la libertad de Alberto Patishtán (Desinformemonos, julio de 2013)

Blog de Alberto Patishtán

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: March in Cerss no. 5 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas for prisoner Rosario Méndez (5 March 2013)

Chiapas: New sentence of 25 years for Rosario Díaz Méndez (5 February 2013)

Chiapas: Pilgrimage by the Believing People for the release of professor Alberto Patishtan (23 April 2013)

Chiapas: Petition from the CDHFBC to release Alberto Patishtán (15 April 2013)

Chiapas: Forthcoming actions for the release of Alberto Patishtán (8 April 2013)

Chiapas: “Justice is its opposite,” declares Alberto Patishtán (20 March 2013)

Chiapas: Sixth Anniversary of the Voz del Amate (16 January 2012)