URGENT ACTION APPEAL

– From Amnesty International USA

To read the current Urgent Action newsletter, go to
http://www.amnestyu sa.org/urgent/ newslett. html
———— ——— ——— —-
For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):
http://www.amnestyu sa.org/actioncen ter/actions/ uaa18407. pdf


18 July 2007
UA 184/07        Fear for safety


MEXICO        At least 40 detainees
              Jesus Alfredo Lopez Garcia (m), human rights defender
              Cesar Grijalva (m), human rights defender


At least 40 people were arrested on 16 July in Oaxaca during
violent clashes between demonstrators and state police
during a Oaxaca festival, the Guelaguetza. Local human
rights organizations and the detainees’ families claim they
are being held incommunicado, and fear for their safety. Two
human rights defenders were beaten by police at the festival
and had to receive hospital treatment for their injuries.
They now fear reprisals for having filed a complaint with
the authorities against the police.


Thousands of people marched towards the official Guelaguetza
Auditorium to celebrate an alternative to the official
festivities called ”Guelaguetza Popular”, organized by the
local popular opposition movement, the Popular Assembly of
the People of Oaxaca (Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de
Oaxaca, APPO). State and local police forces blocked their
way. Some of the leaders of the demonstrators reportedly
tried to negotiate with police to let them through, but were
refused. There are contradictory reports about how the
violence started, but some police and protesters reportedly
threw stones at each other, leading to clashes and
widespread use of teargas. Several vehicles were set on
fire; scores of protesters were injured as police reportedly
used batons and teargas indiscriminately on those present,
including several journalists. At least 15 police also
reportedly suffered minor injuries from stones and the
effects of teargas.


Two members of the local human rights organization Comite de
Liberacion 25 de Noviembre (Committee for the Liberation of
Detainees of 25 November) were reportedly badly injured.
Jesus Alfredo Lopez Garcia was detained by police as he
tried to leave the scene of the violence. He was then forced
into an unmarked open pickup truck by men in civilian
clothing, and was severely beaten by a policeman, who told
him, te vas a morir (you are going to die). As witnesses
started to take pictures, he was released and the Red Cross
took him to hospital in an ambulance. He was treated for
several serious gashes on his head. The authorities have not
charged him with any offence. Cesar Grijalva, who works with
the same organization, was returning to the Comite office
when five uniformed policemen tried to arrest him. He says
that one policeman twisted his arm behind his back and
slashed his wrist with a piece of broken glass, causing him
to bleed heavily. As he started to feel faint, he fell to
his knees, and the policeman let him go. He was helped by
two passers-by to reach a hospital where his wrist was
operated on. He was not charged with any offence.


According to the state authorities 42 people were arrested,
of whom six are minors (all six were released on 17 July),
four are women and six are receiving medical attention. Two
of those receiving medical attention have life-threatening
injuries. However, families and local human rights
organizations have compiled a list of 54 people believed to
have been detained, who have reportedly been allowed no
contact with their families or lawyers of their choice; the
authorities have reportedly refused to provide information
on where they are being held. Human rights organizations
have filed a federal injunction (amparo) against
incommunicado detention. The detainees may be at risk of
torture or ill-treatment and unfair trials.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Widespread protests erupted in the state of Oaxaca in June
2006, led by the APPO, in an unsuccessful campaign to force
the state governor to resign. Political violence and
demonstrations continued throughout the year by armed
civilians linked to the local government and police as well
as some supporters of the APPO. During the protests, at
least 18 civilians were reportedly killed; at least 370 were
injured and 349 arrested. There were widespread reports of
use of excessive force, arbitrary detention, torture and
fabrication of criminal charges against protesters. Federal,
state and municipal authorities responsible for abuses have
not been held to account.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly
as possible:
– calling on the authorities to ensure all those detained
during protests on 16 July are located, clearly identified
and informed of the charges against them, allowed immediate
access to their families, adequate medical attention and
legal counsel of their choice;
– calling on the authorities to ensure they are protected
from torture or ill-treatment;
– urging the authorities to ensure that further measures
taken to uphold the peace and public order during
demonstrations in Oaxaca fully respect international human
rights law and adhere to the highest policing standards;
– expressing concern at reports that human rights defenders
Jesus Alfredo Lopez Garcia and Cesar Grijalva of the Comite
de Liberacion 25 de Noviembre were seriously beaten and
injured when police officers tried to detain them on 16
July, and calling for a thorough and impartial investigation
into these incidents, with those responsible brought to
justice;
– urging the authorities to ensure that they receive
protection, in accordance with their wishes;
– reminding the authorities that human rights defenders have
a right to carry out their activities without any
restrictions or fear of reprisals, as set out in the UN
Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals,
Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect
Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms.


APPEALS TO:
Minister of Interior:
Francisco Javier Ramirez Acuna
Secretario de Gobernacion
Secretaria de Gobernacion
Bucareli No. 99, Edificio Cobian, 1er piso
Col. Juarez, Del. Cuauhtemoc, Mexico D.F. 06600, MEXICO
Fax: 011 52 55 5093 3414
Email:         secretario@segob. gob.mx
Salutation:        Senor Secretario/Dear Minister


Governor of Oaxaca:
Lic. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz
Gobernador del Estado de Oaxaca
Carretera Oaxaca-Puerto Angel, Km. 9.5
Santa Maria Coyotepec, Oaxaca C.P. 71254, Oaxaca, MEXICO
Fax:          011 52 951 502 0530 (if a voice
answers, ask ”me da tono de fax, por favor”)
E-mail:         gobernador@oaxaca. gob.mx
Salutation:         Senor Gobernador /Dear Governor


State Attorney General of Oaxaca:
Lic. Evencio Nicolas Martinez Ramirez
Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de Oaxaca
Avenida Luis Echeverria s/n, Col. La Experimental
San Antonio de la Cal, Oaxaca C.P. 71236, Oaxaca, MEXICO
Fax: 011 52 951 511 5519
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor/Estimado
Procurador


COPIES TO:
President of the National Human Rights Commission:
Dr. Jose Luis Soberanes Fernandez
Presidente de la Comision Nacional de Derechos Humanos
Periferico Sur 3469, 5º piso, Col. San Jeronimo Lidice
Mexico D.F. 10200, MEXICO


Local human rights organisation:
Liga Mexicana por la Defensa de derechos humanos – Filial
Oaxaca
Calle Murguia no. 600, Col. Centro, Oaxaca
Estado de Oaxaca, CP. 68000, MEXICO

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20006
Fax: 1 202 728 1698

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