CALL FOR SIGNATURES TO DEMAND THE RELEASE OF THE 12 POLITICAL PRISONERS OF ATENCO

SYNOPSIS: The Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Earth  (FPDT in its Spanish initials) brings together a number of villages and farming communities on the outskirts of Mexico City, including San Salvador Atenco. In 2002 they commenced a process of peasant resistance to the plan for a new airport that would expel them from  their land. After an intense process of social mobilization, the airport project was cancelled. After its struggle The FPDT became a national and international reference for Mexican social movements defending their land. On 3 and May 4, 2006 the residents of San Salvador Atenco suffered Mexican state repression that prompted one of the most violent police operations in the country’s history, resulting in the death of two young men, more than 200 arbitrary arrests, gross human rights violations of detainees involving police brutality, torture and sexual abuse of thirty female detainees, and irregularities in the legal process. The repression in the case of San Salvador Atenco has become emblematic as many different human rights organisations documented the violations and disseminated their reports. Even Mexican state agencies such as the Supreme Court have recognized that such violations took place. More than four years after the events, 12 people are still unjustly imprisoned. They are political prisoners of the Mexican state. As part of a national and international campaign called Freedom and Justice for Atenco an ad was posted in a national newspaper in June, to demand their freedom. Before the end of June the Supreme Court’s Office will decide on the release of these 12 prisoners. It is their last legal recourse. It is a turning point. This legal battle is a fight to throw out sentences ranging from 31 to up to 112 years in prison. This is an urgent request for signatures from numerous individuals and organizations, national and international. The legal elements integrated in the text have been endorsed and supported by leading human rights centers such as the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center and the Fray Francisco de Vitoria Human Rights Center, as well as specialists from the community of expertise in human rights and democracy in the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences Mexico (FLACSO Mexico). That is why we invite you to sign the text attached below. We hope you can support this process for freedom and justice, and in defense of those fighting for the land.


COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM AND JUSTICE ATENCO:
The People’s Front in Defense of the Land, Relatives of Prisoners and Persecuted, Legal Services, Legal Research, Services and Advice for Peace (Serapaz), Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre, Women Without Fear, Fray Francisco de Vitoria Human Rights Centre, Comité Cerezo, Romero Committee, Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity, National Center for Social Communication (CENCOS), Youth in Alternative Resistance, Bishop Emeritus Samuel Ruiz Garcia of the Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas, actress Ofelia Medina, musician Manu Chao, actress Julieta Egurrola, Raul Vera Bishop of the Diocese of Saltillo, Coahuila, academic Adolfo Gilly, actor Daniel Gimenez Cacho, philosopher Luis Villoro, singer Ruben Albarran, rock band Cafe Tacvba, actor Bruno Bichir, Dominican friar Fray Miguel Concha Malo, director of the Center for Human Rights Fray Francisco de Vitoria, Roco Pachukote vocalist of the rock band Maldita Vecindad and children of Quinto Patio, Gilberto López y Rivas, anthropologist, journalist Luis Hernández Navarro, Carlos Fazio, academic Guillermo Almeyra, Los de Abajo ska and rock band, actresses The Queens of Chulas.

Text to sign:

FREEDOM NOW!
for the 12 prisoners of San Salvador Atenco

To the Ministers of the First Chamber of the Supreme Court:
Jose de Jesus Gudino Pelayo, Olga María del Carmen Sánchez Cordero de García Villegas, Juan N. Silva Meza, Arturo Zaldivar Lelo De Larrea, Jose Ramon Cossio Diaz.

To national and international public opinion.

We know the serious violations of human rights which the Mexican government committed 3 and 4 May, 2006 in San Salvador Atenco. Following these events 12 people are still in prison. We are concerned that the legal process followed was full of irregularities, it did not respected the principle of presumption of innocence or the guarantees of due process, and the evidence on which their convictions were founded was illegally obtained. We believe that these irregularities negated their right to a fair trial. It is a grave concern that the offense of “kidnapping” which we believe is unconstitutional, can be used to criminalize social demands, and that the justice system and administration was manipulated to criminalise members of the Peoples Front in Defense of Earth. We also know that there is a legal precedent issued by a judicial organ of the Federation, which held that the acts for which Ignacio del Valle, Felipe Álvarez and Héctor Galindo were sentenced do not constitute the crime of kidnapping; we believe that even though such norms are not legally-binding for the Ministers, this precedent, in the interests of legal safety and consistency as well as regarding the wider implications of the case, can not be ignored. Therefore, we call the First Chamber of the Supreme Court to release the 12 prisoners of Atenco.

IMPORTANT NOTE for those appending their signature:

For individual signatures, please include full name, nationality or state of the country, trade or profession.


In the case of signatures from organizations and groups, include the full name of your organization, and country or state of the organization.

Signatures will be accepted until Sunday, June 20 at 24 hrs.

SEND TO: firmasatenco@gmail.com


We will send them a copy of the signature and email of everyone who appends their signature.

All information about the case can be found on our campaign page: www.atencolibertadyjustice.com

Committee for Freedom and Justice for Atenco
People’s Front in Defense of the Land


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