Urgent Action for San Sebastián Bachajón, Chiapas

Urgent Action 

Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Centre 
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas
February 7, 2011 


Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty of ejidatarios in Chiapas 

State government has detained 10 ejidatarios, adherents to the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón .
On 3rd February 117 ejidatarios, indigenous Tzeltales from San Sebastián Bachajón, municipality of Chilon, Chiapas, were arbitrarily detained; the detainees, adherents to the Other Campaign (hereafter OC), said that among the irregularities in the legal process they did not have legal counsel or a qualified interpreter,
they were also threatened by state police and and harassed by prosecutors.

According to information in the hands of the Human Rights Centre, the arrest of the ejidatarios occurred while they were attending a meeting above the entrance to the waterfalls of Agua Azul, in order to agree the response they would give the state government concerning their offer to start a 
dialogue between the parties; this was when the state police made the mass arrests, pursuing those who sought refuge in the homes of locals.

The next day, February 4, the interrogation and the collection of evidence began, they were made to take the sodium rhodizonate test (translator's note: this is a test for gunshot {lead} residue) and were forced to give urine samples for toxicology testing; during this whole process they reported that they were at no time assisted by a lawyer, nor helped by interpreters qualified in their language and culture.
Their statements say that during the taking of their statements, they received threats from the state police and harassment from the civil servants responsible for the administration of justice.

According to records obtained, at approximately 02:00 hours on the 5th of February, the Attorney General of the State of Chiapas released 107 of the ejidatarios and later, at 20:00 hours on the same day, 10 people, including a minor, were sent to the Criminal Court at Playas de Catazajá and transferred to the National Centre for Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced, No. 17 (CERSS No. 17) in the municipality of Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas, on charges of qualified homicide, 
attempted murder, breach of the peace and and attacks on the physical integrity and heritage of the State, under the criminal case No. 39/2011.

The ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, adherents of the OC, who are still being held are:
Demeza Mariano Silvano (minor, 17 years old)
Alvaro Domingo Pérez (part of the Comisión de promoción)
Pedro Hernández López (secretary of the ejidal commission)
Miguel Lopez Deara (deputy of the ejidal council)
Domingo García Gómez (member of the Rights Defence Committee)
Juan Aguilar Guzman (chief treasurer)
Pedro García Álvaro (mentally handicapped)
Jerónimo Méndez Guzmán (ejidatario)
Pedro López Gómez (ejidatario)
On the 6th February, the Chiapas state government publicly announced the start of a dialogue between the parties; however, the ejidatarios, adherents of the OC, did not attend because the proposal did not respect the fact that that there already was a process of dialogue in place, aimed at reaching an agreement within the community; they also indicated that they had been violently assaulted and evicted from the toll booth (for the Agua Azul waterfalls) by the group of 'official ejidatarios'; that the state government holds 10 ejidatarios in prison and the police force now occupies the territory held that historically belong to them (the ejidatarios).

Given these facts, the Human Rights Centre believes that their right to personal integrity, right to the presumption of innocence, right to due process, judicial guarantees and judicial protection have all been violated. 

Because the legal period expires on Friday 11 February, we urge the national and international community to demand: 

- the guarantee of the human rights of the detainees, particularly the rights to the presumption of innocence, to a fair trial and to judicial protection and respect for due process. 

We ask groups, organizations and individuals to engage in acts of solidarity in support of the detainees and of respect for the territory of indigenous peoples.

We ask you to send demands for urgent action to:
Lic. Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de la República
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos
Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec,
C.P. 11850, México DF
Tel: (52.55) 2789.1100 Fax: (52.55) 5277.2376
Correo: felipe.calderon@presidencia.gob.mx

Lic. Juan José Sabines Guerrero
Gobernador Constitucional del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 1er Piso
Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Fax: +52 961 61 88088 ? + 52 961 6188056
Extensión 21120. 21122

Dr. Noé Castañón León
Secretario General de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas
Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Chiapas, 2do Piso
Av. Central y Primera Oriente, Colonia Centro, C.P. 29009
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Conmutador: + 52 (961) 61 2-90-47, 61 8-74-60
Extensión: 20003

Dr. Juan Gabriel Coutiño Gómez
Magistrado Presidente del Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Estado de Chiapas
Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Estado. Edificio A, 2do. Piso
Libramiento Norte Oriente No. 2100, Fracc. El Bosque
CP 29047, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México
Teléfono:+ 52 (961)  61-6-53-54, 61-653-55 Fax: + 52 (961) 61-6-53-50

Please send a copy to:

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, AC.
Calle Brasil 14, Barrio Mexicanos, 29240 San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
Tel: 967 6787395, 967 6787396, Fax: 967 6783548

Video testimony of the Bachajon prisoners:
Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Centre 
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas
February 7, 2011
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