UA: 33/10 Index: AMR 41/012/2010 Mexico Date: 11 February 2010
INDIGENOUS WOMEN IMPRISONED UNJUSTLY
Two Indigenous women from Mexico, detained for three years for a crime they did not commit,
will learn within the next few weeks whether their sentences will be confirmed or overturned.
They are prisoners of conscience and should be released immediately.
Alberta Alcántara Juan and Teresa González Cornelio, Otomí Indigenous women from the community of Santiago
Mexquititlán, Querétaro state, have been detained since 3 August 2006. They were arrested with a third Indigenous
woman, Jacinta Francisco Marcial, and charged with kidnapping six Federal Investigation Agency (AFI) agents.
On 26 March 2006, the six AFI agents entered the main market in Santiago Mexquititlán. They claimed to be trying
to locate drugs and illegal DVDs, but failed to provide a warrant or identify themselves, and damaged stallholders’
merchandise. The agents tried to confiscate goods, and as tensions rose, vendors punctured some of the agents’ car
tyres. According to members of the community, the incident ended peacefully later that day. However, that evening,
the agents filed a complaint with the Federal Attorney General’s Office, alleging that they had been kidnapped for
several hours by the protestors. Local lawyers believe there are no grounds to allege a kidnapping took place.
More than four months later, the three women were arrested and charged with the kidnapping. They were each
sentenced to 21 years in prison. The only evidence against them was a photograph published in a local newspaper in
which the three women are seen standing next to the AFI agents. Amnesty International believes that the
imprisonment of the three women was in retaliation for the way the local market stallholders reacted on 26 March
2006. The organization considers that the charges against the three were fabricated and that they were framed as
convenient targets simply because of their marginal status in society as poor Indigenous women. All three women
won an appeal against their conviction in April 2009, prompting a retrial, at which no new evidence was presented.
Jacinta Francisco Marcial was released in September 2009, when the Federal Attorney General’s Office decided to
drop the case during the retrial due to a lack of evidence. However, the Federal Attorney General’s Office decided to
continue to press charges against Teresa and Alberta and seek their reconviction, even though their case relied on
the same evidence. The final hearing of the women’s retrial was held on 3 February. The judge was given 30 working
days from 3 February to issue a verdict.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Spanish or your own language:
Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Alberta Alcántara Juan and Teresa González Cornelio
stating the belief that they are prisoners of conscience
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 15 MARCH 2010 TO:
Lic. Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de la República Mexicana
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos, Casa
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, México
Fax: + 52 55 50934900
Salutation: Estimado Presidente / Dear
Minister of the Interior
Lic. Fernando Francisco Gómez-Mont
Secretario de Gobernación
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juárez,
Delegación Cuauhtémoc, México D.F.,
Fax: +52 55 5093 3414
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/ Dear Minister
Governor of Queretaro
Lic. José E. Calzada Rovirosa
Gobernador del Estado de Querétaro
Palacio de la Corregidora
Pasteur esq. 5 de Mayo, Centro
Fax: (+52 442) 238 5008
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives of Mexico accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after
the above date.