Mexico: Detention of Father Joel Padron Gonzalez

Father Joel Padron Gonzalez, 52-year-old parish priest of San Antonio de Padua in Simojovel, San Cristobal de Las Casas diocese, Chiapas, was arrested on 18 September by members of the state judicial police in civilian dress who did not identify themselves or present any warrant. He was taken to Cerro Hueco Prison and accused of a number of criminal offences. He denied the charges the next day before the Third District Judge of Tuxtla Gutierrez. Despite the testimonies of three local inhabitants in support of Father Padron the judge confirmed seven of the charges. Fr Padron has worked closely with the Human Rights Centre “Fray Bartolome de las Casas”, set up under the auspices of the Catholic Church. The charges against him relate to a dispute over land in Simojovel.

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