The Good Government Junta demands releasing Manuel Gómez, a prisoner in Ocosingo

The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) at a Chiapas location. Photo taken from Twitter @CdhFrayba

By: Elio Henríquez, Correspondent

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

The Good Government Junta (JBG, its initials in Spanish) named “Rebel Thought of the Native Peoples” [1] demanded the release of Manuel Gómez Vázquez, support base of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN, Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), a prisoner “unjustly” in the Ocosingo state prison since December 2020, accused of murder.

In a communiqué it said about Gómez Vázquez that: “they are criminalizing him and inventing evidence to hold him a prisoner unjustly. They attack him for being Zapatista; it’s the truth, because for the bad governments being Zapatista is a crime that is punished with slander, persecution, prison and death.”

The Junta pointed out that “it has carried out a deep and true investigation of what took place and the result is that” Gómez Vázquez is innocent of the crime (homicide) of which he is unjustly accused.”

It stated that the official authorities of the El Censo ejido, municipality of Ocosingo, of which Manuel is a native, “know that what he is accused of is a lie, but they are afraid of saying so because they are threatened with death by the relatives of the killers who were burned.”

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba), explained that between December 4 and 5, 2020, in the El Censo ejido, “a series of violent acts took place that resulted in 4 people losing their lives.”

It added that after the acts, Manuel “was illegally arrested on December 4 by an armed civilian group and community authorities. He was tortured and received cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. On December 5, 2020, he was delivered to the Secretariat of Municipal Public Security and investigative police of the Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice, an agency within the office of the State’s Attorney General (FGE).”

In a statement, it added that he was placed at the disposal of the Control Court and the Court of Prosecution of the Judicial District of Ocosingo until December 9, 2020.

It maintained that the Office of the Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice “did not carry out a diligent and scientific investigation, charging Manuel with homicide, who at the time of the events was at home with his family.”

It stressed that the indigenous man “is being judicially criminalized along with his family, for being part of the support bases of the EZLN, since the Prosecutor’s Office lacks the evidence to accuse him. To the contrary, he fabricated evidence in a way, since he does not present the alleged witnesses to testify, which has resulted in the Oral Trial hearing being postponed on two occasions.”

It assured that “there are no autopsies for the homicides and the Judicial Branch of the State has exceeded the preventive detention that in no case will exceed two years.”

[1] The Good Government Junta Rebel Thought of the Native Peoples is based in Nuevo Jerusalén, Caracol IX, which is not far from the Ocosingo prison and right across the road from a big military base.

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

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