Filed under: Incarceration, Indigenous, Political Prisoners, Southern Mexico
Communique from prisoners in CERSS Number 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, declaring a hunger strike due to the lack of medical attention during the pandemic and the risk to prisoners’ well-being and lives
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas
May 20, 2020
To the Public
To the Networks of Resistance and Rebellion
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the National and International Sixth
To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the Network Against Repression and for Solidarity
To the Human Rights Defenders and Non-Governmental Organizations
To the Independent Organizations
To the Mass and Alternative Media
To the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico and the World
To the Civil Society of Mexico and the World
From CERESO No. 5, we send a combative salute to the compañerxs that are struggling from below and to the left; to the families of political prisoners, prisoners of conscious and prisoners in struggle.
Today, we remain in a protest encampment inside this prison. From our space of struggle, we want to speak out against the injustices that prisoners are experiencing here; injustices caused by the state and its authorities.
Tomorrow, May 21, we will begin a hunger strike demanding our freedom amidst the health crisis brought by COVID-19. Prison authorities have denied that a prison official, Alejandro, has been infected with COVID-19, and that another official, Artemio, has died.
We want to emphasize that various people among the prison population are suffering from fever, muscular pain and diarrhea. We don’t know if this is the consequence of COVID-19 or a normal fever. Our right to healthcare is being violated. There is no way to get a COVID-19 test, nor is there medicine for the inmates. Supposedly there are many inmates with fevers. There are many inmates whose well-being and lives are in danger.
Thus, on May 21, we will begin a hunger strike to demand our freedom because the state only plays games with us. Its public officials have violated our rights as human beings. We should already be free. It is pure injustice caused by the state. That is why we are going on a hunger strike from May 21 to June 5.
This hunger strike will be the first stage of action. If there is no solution from the authorities, we will begin a second stage of action because we have solid reasons to demand our freedom.
To continue we will mention our cases:
My name is Adrián Gómez Jiménez. I am a member of the organization, La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia. I have been unjustly imprisoned for sixteen years, three months and eighteen days. I was sentenced to twenty years in prison. There was never any evidence against me. My legal process lasted fifteen years before I was sentenced, something not permissible by any law. I have already mentioned to the state government the injustices I have lived through, but the government of Rutilio Escandón Cadenas has ignored my requests, not caring about my case. There has been no justice from the government, despite the anomalies in my legal files and the lack of due process.
I should have already been freed for my good behavior, but the state, together with its public functionaries, have denied me my freedom. It is the responsibility of the government and the judge, M. Guadalupe Flores, to grant me my freedom. By means of this hunger strike, I demand my freedom for good behavior. My well-being and my life are in imminent danger because of COVID-19. I have already fulfilled the supposed sentence. I have been imprisoned for sixteen years, three months and eighteen days. I lack three years and nine months. The state has me kidnapped, as I should have already achieved my freedom for good behavior. Enough of so much injustice caused by the state and its public functionaries!
Germán López Montejo and Abraham López Montejo, of the organization, La Voz Verdadera del Amate. We’ve been imprisoned for nine years and four months, unjustly deprived of our freedom. There is no evidence against us nor have the supposed victims of our crimes ever come forward. The public prosecutor dedicates itself to fabricating crimes, to act as if they are finding their sought-after criminals. Yet, they only truly dedicate themselves to torture. They utilize torture to force those detained to accept crimes they did not commit. That is what happened to us. We are victims of torture.
Today we continue unjustly imprisoned for a crime that we never committed. That is why we are going on a hunger strike. The only thing that we want is our freedom. There is no evidence against us, and this pandemic is affecting us all. No more injustice caused the public prosecutor and the state!
Third case: Those imprisoned due to the injustices caused by the state prosecutor’s office.
With this communique, I direct myself to the competent authorities. My name is Cristóbal Roblero Roblero. Due to the health emergency, my legal case has been paused. I insist that they review my legal file and grant me my immediate freedom. I am being held unjustly. I was detained in the town of Bahia de Huatulco, as the result of a car accident, which left me with multiple fractures in my right leg and knee. While I was in the hospital, I was notified that I supposedly had an arrest warrant from 10 years ago. It was for a robbery that I never committed. With this, they violated my rights as a human being. I demand that they review my legal file and grant me my freedom. That is why I have decided to go on a hunger strike until my legal situation is resolved.
Fourth case: Those imprisoned due to the injustice caused by the prosecutor’s office of the highlands of Chiapas.
We direct ourselves in a respectful manner to the competent authorities, demanding that they review our legal cases and grant us our freedom. We are imprisoned based on lies and torture, the abuse of authority and the violation of our rights. This was carried out by the commanders, Hermenegildo Santos and Victorio Garcés Melo, of the prosecutor’s office of the highlands of Chiapas, together with state police. We were detained on December 25 and 26, tortured for 48 hours and linked to a drug related crime.
On the 27, the State Commission of Human Rights visited us in the prosecutor’s office where we were absolved of that crime in the investigation file #4.
Afterwards, they linked us to another crime for which we are now being held here in CERESO No. 5. We are innocent. That is why today we are going on a hunger strike, together with the organizations that are in an encampment on the side of the nursing area.
Our names are Osman Alberto Espinales Rodríguez and Pedro Trinidad Cano Sánchez. Due to this health emergency, we will also carry out an indefinite protest encampment to obtain our freedom.
As the organizations, La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia and La Voz Verdadera del Amate, we continue our struggle and we continue trying to organize with other inmates amidst this pandemic. We are facing a virus that is subjugating us and attacking our lives.
Therefore, we have abandoned passivity and moved to action. It is a step forward in the demand for our freedom. During these times, it is necessary that we are with our families. We are in an indefinite protest encampment, in struggle and resistance.
The authorities have only lied to us, wanting to trick us. On February 27, the sub-secretary, José Miguel Alarcón Garciá, offered us a cell if we abandon our trench of struggle next to the nurse’s area. We accepted the offer but under the condition that it be signed by the National and State Human Rights Commissions, the Prosecutor’s office, the judge M. Guadalupe, and the human rights organization, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas. Until now, there has been no official agreement nor signatures.
An official document was issued and still there has been no response.
Lastly, we invite the national and international independent organizations and human rights defenders, to continue demanding true justice and freedom for political prisoners, prisoners of conscious and prisoners in struggle.
Uniting the voices and forces of the Mexican people, true justice will triumph.
The hunger strike will begin at 9:00 am on May 21, 2020, and will end on Friday June 5, 2020.
Adrián Gómez Jiménez, member of the organization La Voz de Indígenas en Resistencia
Germán López Montejo, Abraham López Montejo, members of the organization La Voz Verdadera del Amate
Prisoners due to the injustice of the prosecutor’s office:
Osman Alberto Espinales Rodríguez
Pedro Trinidad Cano Sánchez
Cristóbal Roblero Roblero
Joining the strike to demand their freedom or conversion to house arrest to be closer to their families:
Alezander Hernández Zalazar
Bacner Maldonado García