José Luis and César sentenced to 2 years in prison for defending their territory from militarization

This is one of several events that occurred during the El Sur Resiste | The South Resists Caravan and International Gathering and, thus delayed our reporting.

José Luis Gutiérrez Hernández and César Hernández Feliciano. Photo: Frayba

By: Yessica Morales

Both human rights defenders were repressed by state police, tortured and held incommunicado. In addition, eleven more people were injured during the peaceful demonstration.

Last April 24, 2023, began the oral trial of César Hernández Feliciano and José luis Gutiérrez Hernández, arrested October 15, 2020, for a peaceful demonstration against the construction of the National Guard (GN) barracks in San Sebastián Bachajón.

During the development of the different hearings, they tried to demonstrate the lack of solid elements to prove the crime of mutiny (rioting) for which the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) of Chiapas has accused them since 2020.

In addition, the witnesses presented did not prove that they belonged to the State Police or their participation during the events of the October 15, 2020 protest, when the Ejidos of San Sebastián Bachajón and San Jerónimo Bachajón opposed the construction of a GN barracks in their indigenous territory without having been consulted beforehand.

Similarly, the Prosecutor’s Office did not demonstrate the quality of experts and legal experts in their field within the investigation that supported the proving of the elements of the case against the community defenders.

For this reason, the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center A.C. (Centro Prodh), the Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT),expressed their solidarity and regretted the decision of Agustín López Martínez, Trial Judge of Region Three, of the Judicial District of Ocosingo.

The judge, for having issued a conviction and 2-year prison sentence that criminalizes the defense of land and territory to the detriment of the rights to autonomy and self-determination of indigenous peoples.

We call on the Government of the State of Chiapas to stop the criminalization and judicialization of human rights and life defenders, the organizations said.

Liberty and Justice

Families United Against Torture for the Freedom of César and José Luis. Photo: Frayba

It should be recalled that on April 20, the Organization “Families United against torture and in defense of human rights“, requested support from state, national and international solidarity, human rights organizations, civil society, media and journalists, to continue demonstrating in favor of both defenders and against the perpetration of human rights violations that the Mexican State has caused them and the situation of supposed justice that occurs in Chiapas, with the permissibility of torture and fabrication of guilt.

Likewise, they mentioned that the two Tseltals faced the process under conditional freedom since 2020: which has caused a rupture of the family fabric. In addition to this, the imprisonment in Chilón has caused the families suffering, expenses to go to sign in at the Ocosingo Court for more than 2 years, where they have had to sell the fruits of their labor, such as corn and beans, [to pay for transportation].

Finally, they asked civil society, human rights and national and international solidarity organizations, media and journalists to pronounce on this case. In addition, they demanded that the Judiciary of the State of Chiapas be an entity that respects human rights of defenders.

Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Thursday, May 4, 2023, and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee

One Comment on “José Luis and César sentenced to 2 years in prison for defending their territory from militarization

  1. Pingback: Chiapas court sentences the “Cancuc 5” to 25 years in prison – The Free

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