Cristóbal Sántiz is free, more than 2 years after his arrest

Cristóbal Sántiz, indigenous Tsotsil Maya. Photo: Frayba.

The community defender was arrested when leaving work in San Cristóbal de Las Casas by officials of the Chiapas Attorney General’s specialized police

By: Yessica Morales

El Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) announced that after 2 years, 7 months and 6 days, Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez,  Maya Tsotsil, community defender and representative of the Permanent Commission of the 115 Community Members and Displaced of Aldama, was released.

In 2020, the Frayba denounced that the State’s Attorney General (FGE) perpetrated grave violations of the community leader’s human rights, ever since he has been incarcerated in the State Center for Social Reinsertion for those Sentenced (CERSS) No.14 “El Amate,” in the municipality of Cintalapa de Figueroa; that’s why it demanded the immediate intervention of the federal and state governments for his rapid release.

Likewise, they pointed out that the detention of the defender occurred in a context of criminalization, arbitrary deprivation of his liberty and threats to his life that placed his integrity and personal security at high risk.

Incommunicado, criminalization and arbitrary deprivation of liberty of community defender Cristóbal Sántiz Jiménez Photo: Isaac Guzmán

The arrest was made when he left work on March 14, 2020, at 6:50 am, after 5 hours of being incommunicado, Frayba indicated that the detention was perpetrated by the FGE who transferred him to Tuxtla Gutiérrez and it was until 12:20 pm when the family was informed of the detention and transfer.

The organization also stressed that Sántiz Jiménez is one of the families dispossessed of their land by a paramilitary group from Santa Martha Chenalhó.

They also stated that the Tsotsil defender faced repeated death threats from the armed group and that after denouncing the omissions of the Mexican State over the escalation of violence in the Chiapas Highlands region, said State demanded his silence in exchange for his freedom.

He has been a representative of the Permanent Commission of Community Members and Displaced Persons of Aldama ever since the conflict emerged through generalized violence and forced displacements… and worked for 21 years as watchman at the Training Center for Industrial Work in San Cristobal de Las Casas, they exposed at that time in a statement.

Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Sunday, October 23, 2022, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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