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May 23, 20

Hunger Strike of Indigenous Prisoners Enters Third Day in Chiapas

On May 21st, indigenous prisoners in Chiapas launched a coordinated hunger strike in CERSS Number 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas and CERSS Number 10 in Comitán de Dominguez demanding their freedom and denouncing prison conditions amidst the coronavirus pandemic. This hunger strike is part of a longer history of organizing efforts and acts of resistance carried out by members of three prisoner organizing groups in Chiapas: La Voz Verdadera del Amate and La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia in CERSS Number 5, and Viniketik en Resistencia in CERSS Number 10. Last year, some of these same prisoners carried out a hunger strike which lasted over 130 days.

The hunger strike launched yesterday continues in the prisoners’ ongoing demand for their freedom. They have constantly noted that they are victims of torture and forced testimonies, violations of their due process rights, as well as discrimination for being Indigenous within the racist Mexican legal system.

In addition, in CERSS Number 5, other previously unorganized prisoners have joined the hunger strike which was launched on the 21st, protesting prison conditions and demanding the review of their legal files which are filled with irregularities.

At this moment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, this hunger strike in Chiapas, and the prisoners’ struggle for their freedom, is very much a matter of life or death.

Below we publish two communiques from the hunger striking prisoners. One from the prisoners in struggle in CERSS number 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, speaking out against harassment and intimidation on part of prison authorities. The other, from CERSS No. 10, speaking out against the prison authorities denying the entrance of honey for consumption during the hunger strike. For more information about the hunger strike, go here for a communique from prisoners in CERSS No. 5 launching the hunger strike, and here for a communique from a prisoner in CERSS No. 10.

Communique from Prisoners in CERSS No. 5:

To the Public

To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion

To the National Indigenous Congress

To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

To the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity

To the National and International Sixth

To the Human Rights Defenders and Non-Governmental Organizations

To the Independent Organizations

To the Mass and Alternative Media

To the People of Mexico and the World

Compañerxs, brothers and sisters, we send you our greetings.

Today, May 22, 2020, we release this public statement against the prison guards, and the inspector, Fredy Martínez Díaz, who serves as the warden. Today at 2:20 pm, they came to intimidate and harass us. This is psychological torture. They told us that they are going to put us in quarantine and that this order comes from their superiors. That would be the state government, together with the Subsecretary for the Execution of Criminal Sanctions and Security Measures, José Miguel Alarcón García. They are only trying to intimidate us. We told them that we will not move from our protest encampment inside this prison no matter what happens. What they want is to remove us from our encampment and force us to end our hunger strike. How is it possible that they already have our test results for COVID if they took the samples just two hours ago?

These are abuses being carried out by the prison authorities and their superiors. We demand that the government give us our freedom. No more imprisonment. They want to kill us with sadness and put us under lock and key. No more threats. No more psychological torture telling us that we already have COVID. Any heart attack or stroke is the responsibility of the state government. Or anything else that might happen to us.

What we want is our freedom because we have been deprived of it for many years now.

Lastly, we urgently invite the intervention of human rights defenders to stop this intimidation on part of state authorities.

And to the state, national and international organizations, we ask that you continue demanding true justice.

Uniting the voices and forces of the Mexican people true justice will triumph.

Respectfully,

Adrián Gómez Jimenez, member of the organization, La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia

Germán López Montejo and Abraham López Montejo, members of the organization, La Voz Verdadera del Amate

Prisoners due to the injustice of the public prosecutor’s office:

Osmar Alberto Espinales Rodríguez

Pedro Trinidad Cano Sánchez

Cristóbal Robles Robles

Alexander Hernándes Zalasa

Communique from Marcelino Ruiz Gómez in CERSS No. 10:

 

CERSS No. 10

Comitán, Chiapas

To the Public

To the Media

To the National and International Sixth

To the Non-Governmental Human Rights Defenders

To the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity

To the People of Mexico and the World

Today, May 22, on the second day of a hunger strike demanding my freedom, the prison director, Alejandro Constancio Hernández, and the warden, David Arias Jiménez, have used repression against me as they have always done. Today I requested that honey be allowed to enter into the prison, so I can consume it during the hunger strike. My family and compañeros brought the honey to the prison, but the prison authorities didn’t allow it inside. They argued that the honey has not been authorized and thus cannot be allowed to enter. I ask for a human rights intervention. In this prison, there has only been the continual abuse of authority.

On the other hand, there are various sick people inside this prison that are not being attended to because there is a lack of both medical personal and medicine. We only have one nurse that does not have the authorization to give prescriptions.

Thus, I want to contradict the lies reported in the media by Mr. José Miguel Alarcón García, subsecretary for Criminal Sanctions and Security Measures.

Sincerely,

Marcelino Ruiz Gómez

 

 

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