Freedom for Luis Fernando Sotelo



By: Gloria Muñoz Ramírez

Not content with lying about the whereabouts of the 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa, the State incarcerates those who, like Luis Fernando Sotelo, [1] don’t keep quiet and go out in the streets to demand the truth. Two years of impunity about Ayotzinapa, not one intellectual author incarcerated and a sentence of 33 years and five months of prison for the 21-year old youth, accused of attacks on the “ways of communication” and against the public peace, and also of property damage in a legal process replete with irregularities.

Luis Fernando was also sentenced to pay a fine of $519, 815 pesos (around $26,000 dollars) and reparation of the damage, which rises to more than 8 million pesos. In this sentence, the collective Los Otros Abogadoz [2] warns, “one clearly observes the vengeance, hate and contempt that the head of Government (Miguel Ángel Mancera) has against students, above all the youths that think differently, that question and are opposed to the injustices and bad decisions of the current ruler.”

In November 2014, scarcely two months after the disappearance of the 43 normalistas, Luis Fernando was dressed in black, with short hair and a crest painted green. He was dressed up as a rebel when he was arrested and accused of burning the Metrobus station and a bus in University City. He was arrested together with another young man, Sergio Pérez Landeros, who the Metrobus driver and the agents implicated in the detention pointed out as authors of the fire. Sergio proved that he was at his school at the time of the acts and he was released. But Luis Fernando remained in prison and was sentenced this week. He is 21 years old and they sentenced him to stay in prison until he is 52. And yet the Public Ministry is in disagreement and is appealing for more years and more money.

The Los Otros Abogadoz collective considers that the Public Ministry fabricated the accusation, altered the facts and omitted evidence. The lawyers indicate that it’s “about finding Luis Fernando guilty to send an exemplary message and punishment to all those that decide to get organized and to protest: youths, students, teachers, indigenous, street venders, districts and all those that resist below and organize.”

On September 28, Luis Fernando and Abraham Cortés (prisoner in Reclusorio Norte) initiated an indefinite hunger strike in protest of the unjust sentence. A national and international campaign accompanies them demanding their freedom.

[1] Luis Fernando Sotelo is the young man referred to in the recent CNI & EZLN Communiqué Party to War and Resistance #44. He is an adherent to the EZLN’s 6th Declaration.

[2] Los Otros Abogadoz translates as The Other Lawyers. “The Other” seems to refer to the EZLN’s “Other Campaign,” which is no longer in existence; however, it also implies adherence to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle. The use of “z” instead of “s” to pluralize abogado (lawyer) also indicates adherence to the Sixth Declaration.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




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