• Campaigns

Mexico: Ill-treatment / fear for safety

, Index number: AMR 41/026/1996

Higinio Torres Lucena, Bertoldo Martinez Cruz (Leaders of the 6 March Movement), Carmelo Juanico Reyes, Leonel Palma Bailon, Gilberto Hernandez Palma, Pedro Reduncindo Palma, Teofilo Pacheco, Rodrigo Palma Cisneros, Regulo Palma, Lino Palma, Rodolfo Suastegui Sanchez, aged 14, Maria Sabino Perez (f), aged 25, Matilde Cruz Nieves (f), Agapita Reducindo Palma (f), Maria de Jesus Molina (f): During the eviction on 31 May 1996 of scores of supporters of the 6 March Movement, a peasant organization, from the municipal officies of the town of San Marcos, there is concern at reports that several peasants were ill-treated and shot. On 3 June supporters again occupied the town hall, where they remain. There is concern for their safety and that of the first ten people named above who have had arrest warrants issued against them.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 41/26/96
EXTRA 91/96 Ill-treatment / Fear for safety 11 June 1996
MEXICO Higinio TORRES LUCENA ) leaders of the
Bertoldo MARTÍNEZ CRUZ ) 6 March Movement
Carmelo JUANICO REYES
Leonel PALMA BAILÓN
Gilberto HERNÁNDEZ PALMA
Pedro REDUNCINDO PALMA
Teófilo PACHECO
Rodrigo PALMA CISNEROS
Régulo PALMA
Lino PALMA
Rodolfo SUÁSTEGUI SÁNCHEZ aged 14
María SABINO PÉREZ (f), aged 25
Matilde CRUZ NIEVES (f)
Agapita REDUCINDO PALMA (f)
María de Jesús MOLINA (f)
On 31 May 1996 scores of supporters of the Movimiento 6 de Marzo, 6 March
Movement, a peasant organization in the state of Guerrero, were forcibly evicted
from the municipal offices of the town of San Marcos. On 3 June a number of
the organization's supporters again occupied the town hall, where they remain.
Given the current tense atmosphere and reports that several peasants were
ill-treated and shot at during the eviction of 31 May, Amnesty International
is concerned for the safety of the current protesters and fears that 10 members
of the 6 March Movement, who have had arrest warrants issued against them,
may face torture if taken into custody.
The demonstration on 31 May reportedly involved up to 800 peasants calling
for a resolution to their demands for fertilizers and other agricultural inputs.
Several peasants occupied the offices of the town hall. Reports indicate
that the demonstrators were shot at, and a number were kicked and beaten, by
members of the local police, and the guardias blancas, white guards - gunmen
hired by the local authorities.
An Amnesty International delegation currently in Mexico has been able to confirm
that, as a result of the attack, the following people sustained injuries:
14-year-old Rodolfo Suástegui Sánchez was shot in the chest; María Sabino Pérez
has a gunshot wound on her left forearm; Matilde Cruz Nieves, Agapita Reducindo
Palma and María de Jesús Molina were allegedly kicked and beaten in different
parts of their bodies. Reports indicate that at least five others were seriously
wounded during the attack and needed hospitalization.
Although seven police officers were detained following the attack, on 7 June
a local judge overturned their arrest warrants and instead issued warrants
against the first 10 people named above, on charges of "sedition, mutiny,
conspiracy, provocation to commit a crime and advocacy of this crime,
disobedience and resistance" (sedición, motín, conspiración, provocación para
cometer un delito y apología de éste, desobediencia y resistencia de
particulares).
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
During the last few years, the state of Guerrero has been the scene of violent
repression of peasants organizing around their demands for improved
2
agricultural inputs and for social justice (for example, see UA 159/95, AMR
41/15/95, 5 July 1995; and follow-ups AMR 41/16/95, 26 July and AMR 41/18/95,
17 August; UA 37/96, AMR 41/06/96, 15 February 1996; UA 45/96, AMR 41/11/96,
23 February 1996).
Guardias blancas, acting in conjunction with local landowners and regional
authorities, have been responsible for many of the attacks, in many cases
supporting the role of the local security forces.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern at the wounding of protesters evicted from San Marcos
town hall on 31 May 1996, apparently indicating the use of excessive force;
- calling for an immediate investigation into the eviction, the findings of
which should be made public;
- in view of these injuries, expressing concern for the safety of current
protesters, and calling for public instructions to be issued to all law
enforcement personnel to adhere to international human rights standards;
- noting that 10 members of Movimiento 6 de Marzo have been issued with arrest
warrants, and urging that if they are taken into custody their rights be
respected at all times, including the right not to be subjected to any form
of torture or ill-treatment;
- calling for the charges and arrest warrants against them to be withdrawn
if they are being targeted solely for exercising their rights to freedom of
expression and association.
APPEALS TO:
1) President of the Republic
Lic. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
Presidente de la República
Palacio Nacional, 06067 México D.F., MEXICO
Telegrams: Presidente Zedillo, México D.F., México
Telexes: 170937 sppnme; 1774468 sppnme
Faxes: + 52 5 515 1794 or 542 1648
Salutation: Sr. Presidente / Dear President
2) Minister of the Interior
Lic. Emilio Chuayffet Chemor
Secretario de la Gobernación
Secretaría de la Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er piso, Col. Juárez
06699 México DF, MEXICO
Telegrams: Secretario Gobernación, México D.F., México
Faxes: + 52 5 546 5350
Salutation: Sr. Secretario / Dear Minister
3) Interim Governor of the state of Guerrero
Ángel Heladio Aguirre Rivero
Gobernador Interino del estado de Guerrero
Palacio de Gobierno
Plaza Primer Congreso de Anahuac
39000 Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico
Telegrams: Gobernador Aguirre, Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico
Faxes:+ 52 747 23072 (voice line: ask "me puede dar tono de fax, por favor")
Salutaion: Sr. Gobernador / Dear Governor
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COPIES TO:
1) Daily newspaper
Sr. Editor
La Jornada
Balderas 68
06050 México D.F., MEXICO
2) Peasant organization
Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Sur (UOSS)
attn: Ranferi Hernández Acevedo
Calle Zapata No. 1
Col. Fraccionamiento 20 de noviembre
Chilpancingo, Guerrero, MEXICO
and to diplomatic representatives of Mexico accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 10 July 1996.

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