Relatives of Simón Pedro Pérez reject an abbreviated trial of his killer

Activists and relatives of Simón Pedro at a press conference. Photo: Isaín Mandujano.

By: Isaín Mandujano

TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ, Chiapas. (apro)

Human rights defenders, members of the civil organization Las Abejas of Acteal and relatives of Simón Pedro Pérez López demanded justice for the indigenous leader from the Chiapas Prosecutor’s Office and the judge in the case, and refused to negotiate an “abbreviated” trial in which the only material author arrested is given a short sentence and the intellectual authors are left unpunished.

Juan Pérez and Crescencia López, parents of Simón Pedro Pérez López, shot dead on July 5, 2021 when he walked with his young son hand in hand through one of the downtown streets of Simojovel, in the Highlands of Chiapas, demanded that his crime not go unpunished.

At a press conference, accompanied by Dora Lilia Roblero García, director of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center, Guadalupe Luna, of Las Abejas, the relatives of Simón Pedro Pérez López denounced that the trial to issue a sentence against the only material author, detained in the El Amate prison, has been delayed.

18 months after the murder, they denounced that with “legal tricks” the trial has been delayed and has also been suspended on many occasions because the case is being handled by a judge in Pichucalco, in the northern part of the state, but the detainee is imprisoned in prison 14 of Cintalapa, hundreds of kilometers away.

Simón Pedro Pérez López

Simón Pedro Pérez López was a Maya Tsotsil human rights defender, former president of the Board of Directors of Las Abejas of Acteal. He carried out activism in defense of the rights of indigenous peoples of the Chiapas Highlands region; he moved mainly within Chenalhó, Pantehló and Simojovel, where he was from originally.

Dora Lilia Roblero, of the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) asked the justice authorities on Wednesday to take into account the lines of investigation that guide the causes of his murder.

She reiterated that the motive that led to the taking of Simón Pedro’s life is linked to his work as a defender of human rights and life, in favor of the construction of peace and the denunciation of the existence of a criminal group that locally controlled the political, social and economic sphere in the territory based on threats, murders and disappearances in the region.

On Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4, the oral trial is scheduled to take place in the Pichucalco Control Court.

That is why she requested that the judge handling the case and the FGE guarantee the presence of the material author of the murder of Simón Pedro, who is being held in the State Center for Social Reintegration of those Sentenced No. 14 “El Amate” in Cintalapa.

“As we know, the respect, guarantee and protection of human rights are duties that the State is obliged to fulfill through its different organs of government, and thereby avoid delay, continuity of human rights violations and possible discrimination due to the ethnic condition of the victims in the face of access to justice,” said Dora Lilia.

Simón Pedro with his wife and four of his children.

She urged both the Pichucalco Control Court and the State Attorney General’s Office to take into account all lines of investigation that lead to the clarification of the murder of Simón Pedro and find those responsible for masterminding the murder.

In addition, she demanded that the Chiapas justice system promptly guarantee the truth by offering adequate attention to the evidence about the motive for his murder, and that this be recorded in the final ruling.

“The Mexican State has the responsibility to avoid the constant vulnerability and risk faced by human rights defenders, communities and peoples who fight for peace; therefore, we demand that article 10 of the General Law on Victims, which establishes the right to an adequate and effective judicial remedy before independent, impartial and competent authorities, be fully observed and complied with in order to also guaranty the right of the victims, their families and society in general to know the whole truth,” the human rights defender said.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Wednesday, March 1, 2023, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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