Mexico: Release of environmental activist, a triumph for justice
The release of a Mexican environmental activist, and prisoner of conscience, who was unfairly imprisoned nine months ago in what seems to be punishment for his peaceful activism against illegal logging is a triumph for justice and human rights, Amnesty International said.
Ildefonso Zamora Baldomero was arrested in November 2015 in the Indigenous Tlahuica community of San Juan Atzingo, 80km south-west of Mexico City. He was accused of participating in a burglary in July 2012.
Ildefonso´s story is a tragic illustration of what it means to be a human rights defender in Mexico today, where speaking up against human rights abuses can land you in jail.
The criminal charges against Ildefonso Zamora were based on fabricated evidence. A federal judge decided there was no basis to believe he was responsible of any crime and even doubted the crime even existed.
“Campaigning against illegal logging is not a crime. Instead of prosecuting environmental activists for their peaceful activities, the Mexican authorities should ensure they are able to carry out their legitimate work without fear of reprisals,” said Carlos Zazueta, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International.
“Ildefonso´s story is a tragic illustration of what it means to be a human rights defender in Mexico today, where speaking up against human rights abuses can land you in jail.”
Amnesty International believes that his arrest is part of a series of threats and harassment in relation to his anti-logging campaigns. In 2007, his son Aldo was murdered and his son Misael was injured in an attack which hasn’t yet been fully investigated. The organization calls on the authorities to stop any other attempt to harass him or his family for his work.