CHIAPAS: “ARBITRARY DEPRIVATION OF FREEDOM AND TORTURE OF CNTE TEACHERS,” FRAYBA
The Mexican State’s repression criminalizes social protest in Chiapas.
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México, April 16, 2016
The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) documented human rights violations consistent with: the disproportionate use of Public Force, arbitrary deprivation of freedom, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that form a pattern of repression and criminalization of social protest. Acts committed in San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, during the operations for dislodging the demonstrations called by Section VII of the National Coordinator of Education Workers of the State of Chiapas (CNTE) and the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE). Actions perpetrated by members of the Federal Police, the Gendarmería and the State Policía used tear gases and rubber bullets indiscriminately and unjustifiably damaged the salud of those who demonstrated on April 15, 2016, from approximately 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. They also physically injured the population that passed by or those who were at the place of the repression, including girls, boys, women and the elderly.
Testimonies refer to the fact that in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, police aggressions included breaking into private homes and businesses, the use of tear gas damaging the family members sick people that were in the Hospital of Culturas, people beaten although they had nothing to do with the demonstrations, vigilance on the part of soldiers dressed as civilians and the infiltration of shock groups to justify repression and to generate confrontation. At the same time two Federal Police helicopters, without registration, flew over and shot tear gas, and one helicopter from civil protection.
In Tuxtla Gutiérrez they implemented a police circle that started at the La Pochota demonstration point and turned the teachers towards the center, in zones where the attacks with tear gas, rubber bullets and stones affected the population in general. Helicopters also flew over launching tear gas. There were an undetermined number of people injured and with nervous crisis.
In Tuxtla Gutiérrez and San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas members of the police arbitrarily detained and with cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment, without respect for individual guaranties or mediating protocols that safeguard security and integrity, at least 8 female professors, 10 male professors and three people that were passing by the place: a distributor of water, an electricity technician and a gym instructor, also a student that was at a mechanics shop and two other unidentified individuals. These detentions were made between 10:00 am and 12:00 Noon in different places and the people detained were taken to the installations of the Attorney General of the Republic in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas.
Testimonies mention that they knew about the detention of their family member through social networks, but it was not until no 11:00 o’clock at night that they received calls from the individuals detained; thus, they were incommunicado more than 12 hours and they were allowed to see a relative for only 5 minutes each, it being the last visit where they could have contact with their relative at 5:00 am on April 16. The majority said they didn’t know details about the legal situation of the persons detained.
On April 16 in the morning, the 18 teachers were transported in a Boeing 727 airplane, Registration XC_MPF belonging to the Federal Police to the maximum-security prison at Tepic, Nayarit. The teachers are accused of attacking general roadways, damages, terrorism and injuries, typical crimes to inhibit social protest, thereby criminalizing freedom to demonstrate. Lo anterior violates the rights to demonstrate, associate and meet, thought and expression, as well as also wounding the right to personal integrity and security and personal freedom and, in relation to the foregoing, the right to legal due process.
The referenced facts generate a pattern of repression and criminalization of protest in Chiapas and in the country, which puts the general population at risk of being indiscriminately attacked, being that women, boys and girls had specific rights violated.
We place responsibility on the Secretary of Government, Juan Gómez Aranda, who had published his commitment to “privilege dialogue and the un restricted compliance with the law as the only way to con find solutions to the problems of Chiapanecos;” on Manuel Velasco Coello, Governor of the State of Chiapas, on Renato Sales Heredia, National Security Commissioner and on Jorge Llaven Abarca, Secretary of Citizen Security and Protection, who Frayba had informed of the grave situation urging avoiding events and/or damages that are impossible to repair. At the same time, Enrique Peña Nieto and Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, who are producers of the repressive policy of the current authoritarian regime.
This Human Rights Center urges the Mexican State to: assume the obligation to protect, guaranty and respect human rights; cease the repression and criminalization of social protest; guaranty life, integrity and personal security of those who exercise their legitimate right to demonstrate freely; immediately, efficiently, promptly, seriously, exhaustively and impartially attend to these acts sanctioning those responsible for the human rights violations described; and that it immediately free the individuals arbitrarily detained and unjustifiably moved accused of crimes fabricated as a justification for repressive actions.
Published by: Pozol Colectivo
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Re-Published with English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee