Chiapas Indigenous prisoners infected with COVID-19 appeal to the IACHR

The 7 San Cristóbal prisoners. Photo: Chiapas Paralelo

By: Angeles Mariscal

With occasional medical attention and no medicine; that’s how the group of eight indigenous prisoners secluded in the San Cristóbal de las Casas prison and sick with the COVID-19 virus go through the worst ravages that COVID-19 leaves in their bodies.

To the pain is added the fear of dying practically abandoned. So, through humanitarian organizations, the indigenous prisoners requested the intervention of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a body that asked the Mexican State for reports about the care that is being provided to the eight infected prisoners.

The letter from the IACHR – an arm of the Organization of American States (OAS)-, which was sent to the authorities on May 29 [requests] “information about the current health situation of the proposed beneficiaries, indicating whether they will be receiving the medical care that they require,” and the measures that would be implemented to protect their lives.

Since last April, the prisoners have denounced that prison personnel were not following the health protocols to avoid bringing the virus inside the prison.

A month later, two guards died from COVID-19, as the Chiapas Secretariat of Citizen Public Security and Protection and the State Secretary of Health recognized. In addition to recognizing the outbreak of the virus at the prison, they reported that at least 8 prisoners were infected.

Days after this announcement, the prisoners continued denouncing that, already sick, they took them to the infirmary area and practically abandoned them there. There were no doctors that attended to them, and at that time, they would not permit their family members to bring them medication to relieve the symptoms.

The Secretary of Health responded with another communication pointing out that: “four nurses and a doctor” were attending to both the sick and to the rest of the prisoners; in other words, those who they don’t know if they are infected. The official communication was accompanied with photographs where medical personnel are seen with the prisoners.

These photographs, the infected prisoners explained, had been taken a week ago, when they came to do the COVID-19 test. In other words, they did not receive medical attention after testing positive.

As of May 30, already at a critical point in the illness, while their health was deteriorating every day, the eight prisoners explained that they only have occasional medical attention, and no medicine.


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee





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