They demand the freedom of 15 women prisoners in the San Cristóbal prison

Chiapas State Prison #5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas municipality.

Throughout Mexico, women are protesting violence against women and patriarchy with marches and other actions. This protest is relevant to Chiapas.

By: Isaín Mandujano

The Cereza Collective, a civilian organization for the legal support of women in Chiapas, today demanded the freedom of 15 women prisoners in the San Cristóbal de Las Casas state prison, who they said faced trials plagued with irregularities, such as the fabrication of crimes and some of them lacked translators at the time of their trial.

Patricia Aracil and a group of women activists and lawyers who form the Cereza Collective announced the names of 15 women secluded in state prison Number 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas municipality, who have clearly faced processes that show they were “victims of a sexist and patriarchal judicial process.”

In the framework of the activities of the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women that is claimed on November 25 of every year, this Wednesday the Collective spoke out about 15 women prisoners.

Aracil and her compañeras who have visited that prison since some years ago, pointed out that each and every one of these women, have suffered violence from impoverishment, inequality, discrimination, racism, mistreatment and torture by their partner, followed by a violent arrest, the majority accused of crimes they have not committed or that derived from having to make economic decisions to sustain their children.

They are women who were involved forcibly by their partner, often even with threats and brutal violence that places them in a physical and emotional state of impossibility of escaping that situation with an insurmountable fear.

“Because in addition, it is their and their children’s lives that are at real risk. This also happens many times in the prosecutor’s office, forcing them to sign self-incriminating statements,” said the activist.

She said that these women have had to face a critical situation of femicidal violence and that in order to survive they have had to face that situation with very low possibility, they were able to save their lives in self-defense, because it is very difficult to defend themselves in that unequal battle against sustained violence and get out alive.

“A violence that local authorities still consider intimate family matters where we should not get involved, where the voice of women, when they can escape momentarily and ask for help from neighbors, authorities and institutions, is questioned and blamed,” she said.

She said that in Chiapas, judges continue to issue arrest warrants irresponsibly, continue to judge with a lack of gender, intercultural and human rights perspectives, continue to give convictions “as a rule” in the first instance, because it seems to be a pact with the prosecution, making up not only for the lack of adequate investigation, but becoming accomplices of the violence and human rights violations against women committed by prosecutors to incriminate them.

She explained that there is no justice for women in Chiapas. Therefore, she demanded that the State’s Judicial Power review the women’s cases and give them freedom.

“We demand that it be investigated and judged with a gender, intercultural and human rights perspective. We demand that the FGE stop constructing crimes against women, stop torturing and obstructing investigations. We demand the right to truth and justice, to transformative justice,” Aracil said.

She said that after reviewing each of these cases, she concluded that: “all of them are innocent and have experienced femicidal violence, mistreatment, inhuman treatment or torture in detention and in the prosecutor’s office.”

“It is necessary to combat corruption and impunity in the Attorney General’s Office, as well as the fabrication of crimes and acts of torture against women, a change in the justice system towards the human rights of women, girls and indigenous peoples is necessary,” said the lawyer.

She added that in addition, “judicial independence is fundamental for access to justice in Chiapas, the “norm” of conviction, contrary to the right to justice, must be eliminated.”

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

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