URGENT Political Prisoners On Hunger Strike In Chiapas

The UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, including KIPTIK, has issued a statement expressing “full support” for the prisoners: ” We are well aware that the Mexican government is persecuting people who are involved in the struggle for social justice by falsely accusing them of crimes which they did not commit.” Indymedia Chiapas estimates that around 100 prisoners in Chiapas have been deprived of their liberty for political reasons. The prisoners on hunger-strike include Zapatistas, supporters of The Other Campaign and activists in other groups. Zacario Hernandez Hernandez, a catechista or laypreacher from San Juan Chamula, was the first prisoner to start his hunger-strike, on 12th February. Since then he has only drunk water and honey, and is now described as being very weak. On 25th February fellow prisoners in Cintalapa, organised in the group “The Voice of Amate”, joined the hunger strike, and on 4th March the protest spread to another prison, in the major town of San Cristobal. The prisoners in Amate, adherents to The Other Campaign, have maintained a permanent organised vigil protest within the jail for over two years, and this continues, despite harassment by the guards. Days later, on 9th March, the movement grew further as 11 prisoners in a third prison, in Catazaja, declared themselves on hunger strike. These prisoners all come from the community of Busilja, where they had been attacked and driven off their land by supporters of the paramilitary-type group OPPDIC, who were also involved in their imprisonment on false charges. The 11 – some zapatistas, others members of the PRD, all from the Tzeltal indigenous group – are asking that the Chiapas State government of Juan Sabines listen to them. ?Our struggle is fought with our whole heart. If we die, it will be the fault of murderers, extortionists, or abductors; it will be because of lack of justice?. Esther MacDonald, of the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network, stated: “The situation is desperate. The prisoners have launched an indefinite hunger strike, declaring that they are prepared to die to win their liberty. We have to do whatever we can to show our solidarity. We urge people to write to the Mexican Ambassador to the UK, demanding that the authorities act to free the hunger-strikers, who have been unjustly imprisoned.”

Protest to
The Ambassador Juan José Bremer de Martino,
The Mexican Embassy, 16 St. George Street, London W1S 1FD Tel: 020 7499 8586
E mail via http://portal.sre.gob.mx/reinounidoeng/ http://portal.sre.gob.mx/reinounidoeng/index.php?option=contact&Itemid=6

The Prisoners are in the following Prisons:
– the Centro de Readaptación Social number 14 (Cereso 14, “El Amate” ) in Cintalapa ;
– the Centro de Readaptación Social número 5 (Cereso 5) in San Cristóbal de Las Casas,
– and in the prison Licenciado José Patrocinio González Garrido (Cereso 17) in the municipality of Playas de Catazajá

More info:
http://ukzapatistas.wordpress.com

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~ by cardiffabc on March 18, 2008.

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