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Jun 25, 17

Update and Alert Regarding Political Prisoner Miguel Peralta

For several months now, at the prison in San Juan Bautista Cuicatlán, Oaxaca—where our compañero Miguel Peralta Betanzos is imprisoned—violence, control, power and impunity have intensified. The prison director has carried out this intensification, taking over the prison store (with an excessive rise in prices) and the prison kitchen (where he can get extra food and then sell it to the prisoners). Furthermore, the director has created a violent group inside the prison made up of inmates themselves, actions that were denounced in the Oaxacan newspaper Noticias on May 24th (http://www.nvinoticias.com/nota/59878/denuncian-autogobierno-en-penal-de-cuicatlan-oaxaca).

As if that weren’t enough, the director has organized a form of obligatory transfer of prisoners, removing any obstacle to his monetary empowerment, carrying out the involuntary and violent transfer of some inmates already sentenced (those beaten during visiting hours). These actions forced the prison population to sign blank sheets of paper, which were later used as the legal basis for their transfers. These papers have already served as false petitions of inmates for the expulsion of others, those that have been transferred to other prisons.

Since our compañero Miguel has refused to sign such papers, and furthermore has remained adamant against the abuses of the prison authorities, personal harassment against him has increased. As such, on Wednesday June 21st of this year, he was “called” before the prison director under the pretext of an act of violence Miguel supposedly committed toward another prisoner. However, the director threatened him, telling him to be prepared for transfer, even when there exists no reason to support such a transfer. He ended his threat saying the transfer is an indisputable act and cannot be put off. The justification rests upon the director’s fantasy idea that Miguel has the desire to take over the “store” of the prison—now run by a violent group of the director—and furthermore, to organize the prison population against the director. Beneath this same justification, a personal guard has been put on Miguel to keep him under surveillance without the possibility to communicate openly with his lawyers and family members.

Later, the prison authorities again called on Miguel insisting that he sign the “voluntary transfer”, which legally is more convenient than an “involuntary transfer”, which can only be solicited by the director and expedited by a judge with reasoning in bad behavior. This of course implies their disadvantage in the legal process.

It should be mentioned that Miguel is located in the prison of Cuicatlán after having requested a transfer from the prison of Tlaxiaco, which is more than nine hours from the judge where his legal process is taking place. It was precisely this argument that helped win the original transfer: Cuicatlán is the closest place to the judge and should thus be the jurisdiction that corresponds to him.

Finally, since yesterday, under the director’s instruction, prison authorities have continued harassing and pressuring Miguel to sign the “voluntary transfer”, making clear the impunity exercised by the director and his unquestionable economic interests that rank above the liberty and integrity of the people.

At the moment, we do not have any more information, nor tools that can lessen the present danger, as any transfer implies a beating from the authorities of the prison being left and also the prison being entered. This is in addition to the previous threats of violence made by the director.

A transfer to any other prison entails the erosion of the judicial process and the perpetuation of confinement and violence toward our compañero. Furthermore, it entails the difficulty of physically accompanying Miguel, due to the elevated costs that transfer to another prison would entail.

We thus name responsible the director of the Cuicatlán prison, for the physical and psychological damages the prison authorities could commit against Miguel Peralta. We call on our compañerxs to remain alert to whatever change, and to also show your solidarity.

Freedom to Miguel Peralta!

Eloxochitlán Resists!

June 23, 2017

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