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Mexico: Fear of torture/ill-treatment / arbitrary arrests / legal concern

, Index number: AMR 41/062/1997

Enriqueta Ruiz (f), human rights and union activist, Joel Alberto Garcia Gonzalez, lawyer, human rights and union activist, 74 workers and union activists: On 21 July 74 workers were arbitrarily and violently arrested by riot police in Villahermosa, Tobasco state, during a peaceful strike. They were detained incommunicado for 36 hours. The same day Enriqueta Ruiz and Joel Alberto Garcia Gonzalez were arbitrarily detained in the Attorney General's Office while requesting a visit to the detained workers. Eye-witnesses claim that they were subjected to ill-treatment. All 76 detainees are believed to be prisoners of conscience and Amnesty International is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 41/62/97
UA 235/97 Fear for torture/ill-treatment/arbitrary arrests/
Legal concern 25 July 1997
MEXICOEnriqueta Ruiz(f), human rights and union activist
Joel Alberto García González, lawyer, human rights and union
activist
74 workers and union activists
On 21 July 1997, 74 workers were arbitrarily and violently arrested by riot
police in Villahermosa, Tobasco state, during a peaceful strike to demand
improved labour conditions. The workers, who were exercising their
constitutional right to peaceful union activism, are activist members of the
recently formed Coalición de Trabajadores Burócratas, Coalition of
Administrative Workers, an organization created as an alternative to the
official government union. They were held incommunicado for 36 hours and were
denied access to lawyers, relatives and medical care.
On 21 July Enriqueta Ruiz and Joel Alberto García González were arbitrarily
detained in the office of the Procuraduría General, (PGE), Attorney General’s
Office of Tabasco state while requesting a visit to the 74 detained workers.
Eye-witness reports state that they were subject to ill-treatment and that
Joel Alberto was repeatedly hit with a rifle-butt and dragged down the stairs
of the premises by PGE officials.
Amnesty International believes that all 76 detainees are prisoners of conscience
who therefore should be released immediately and unconditionally.
Amnesty International has often documented torture and ill-treatment by Tobasco
state riot police and therefore fears that those detained are at risk of torture
or ill-treatment. Members of the Comité de Derechos Humanos de Tabasco,
(CODEHUTAB), Human Rights Committee of Tabasco, who have been able to visit
the workers lately, have confirmed that the conditions in the detention centre
are appalling to the extent that they amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Enriqueta Ruiz and Joel Alberto García González are well-known human rights
activists in Mexico, with a particular focus on workers’ rights. Joel Alberto
has received threats in the past, forcing him to flee Tabasco state in 1993
for almost a year in fear for his safety.
Amnesty International has recorded a long-term pattern of harassment by security
forces and threats targeted at government critics and professional groups such
as journalists, lawyers and union leaders. Since 1996, the level of harassment
against human rights defenders has increased significantly.
The Mexican government, despite continually pledging to protect human rights
defenders, has consistently failed to take effective action to ensure a safe
environment for professionals and activists. The organization is concerned
at the impunity enjoyed by the majority of those responsible.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Spanish or your own language:
- calling for prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into allegations
of the use of arbitrary arrest and the use of excessive force and ill-treatment
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(citing the cases of Joel Alberto García González, Enriqueta Ruiz and 74 others)
by members of the riot police on 21 July in Villahermosa, state of Tabasco;
- asking that those responsible be brought to justice;
- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those still detained
and asking for those responsible to be brought to justice;
- requesting politely information about the implementation of your
recommendations;
APPEALS TO:
1) 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
2)Governor of Tabasco State
Roberto Madrazo Pintado
Gobernador del Estado de Tabasco
Palacio de Gobierno
Villahermosa, Tabasco, MEXICO
Telegrams: Gobernador, Tabasco, México
Faxes: + 52 93 14 3003
Salutation: Sr. Gobernador/Dear Governor
3)Procurador of Tabasco State
Patricia Febrero Iruarte
Procuradora del Estado de Tabasco
Produraduría General de Justicia
Paseo Usumacinta s/n, esquina Ayuntamiento
Villahermosa, Tabasco, MEXICO
Telegrams: Procuradora, Tabasco, México
Faxes: + 52 93 15 5221
Salutation: Sr.Procurador/Dear Attorney
When sending faxes please request the following if asked:"me puede dar tono
de fax, por favor"
COPIES TO:
1) Weekly magazine
Sr. Editor
La Jornada, Balderas 68,
06050, México D.F., MEXICO
Fax: + 52 5 5212763/52 5 5101901
2) Human rights organization
Sres.Comité de Derechos Humanos de Tabasco
A. Sánchez Magallanes 844 Altos
86000 Villahermosa, Tabasco, MEXICO
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Fax: +52 93 12 8362
e-mail:codehutab@laneta.apc.org
3)International Labour Office
4 Route des Morillos
CH-1211 Geneve 22
Switzerland
Fax:+41 22 799 6260
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 5 September 1997.

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