PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 41/015/2009
23 March 2009
Further Information on UA 314/08 (AMR 41/059/2008, 14 November 2008) and follow up (AMR
41/006/2009, 12 February 2009) – Prisoners of conscience and Fear for safety
MEXICO Raúl Hernández (m) ]
Manuel Cruz (m) ] members of Me’phaa Indigenous People’s Organization
Orlando Manzanarez (m) ] (OPIM)
Natalio Ortega (m) ]
Romualdo Santiago (m) ]
Rafael Rodriguez Dircio (m)
Obtilia Eugenio Manuel (f)
9 other members of OPIM
Manuel Cruz, Orlando Manzanarez, Natalio Ortega and Romualdo Santiago were released unconditionally on
19 March. A federal tribunal dropped all charges against the four OPIM members on 17 March. Raúl
Hernández remains in detention at Ayutla prison, Guerrero state. Raúl Hernández is a prisoner of conscience
and is likely to face an unfair trial.
On 17 April 2008, Manuel Cruz, Orlando Manzanarez, Natalio Ortega, Romualdo Santiago and Raúl
Hernández were detained and charged with the murder of Alejandro Feliciano García on 1 January 2008 in
the town of El Camalote, Guerrero state. On 20 October, a federal appeal (amparo) judge ruled that the
evidence presented did not implicate four of the men: Manuel Cruz, Orlando Manzanarez, Natalio Ortega and
Romualdo Santiago and ordered their release. The four were not freed in October however, because the
Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) requested a revision of the ruling. Eventually, after another five
months in detention, on 17 March 2009, a second federal tribunal confirmed that the evidence on which the
four were being committed for trial was baseless.
In April 2008, arrest warrants for another ten OPIM members were also issued in connection with the murder,
but have not been enforced.
There has been no further information on the death threats made against Rafael Rodriguez Dircio by a
supporter of the local cacique (political boss) in the community of El Camalote, Guerrero State and no further
information on the harassment of Obtilia Eugenio Manuel.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in Spanish or your own
- urging the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Raúl Hernández, who Amnesty
International believes is a prisoner of conscience and is wrongfully accused of murder in reprisal for his
legitimate work to promote Indigenous rights;
- request that the authorities ensure that the 100 OPIM members named by the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights, receive all the protection that the Commission has requested for them, as well as for Raúl
Hernández and the 4 prisoners of conscience who have been released.
Minister of Interior