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Mexico: Fear for safety:

, Índice: AMR 41/115/1997

Alba Hurtado Arias (f) and Rocio Mesino Mesino (f): Alba Hurtado was detained on 10 December 1997 by members of the army and questioned about the activities of Rocio Mesino Mesino. She was threatened by the soldiers and released after interrogation. AI is concerned for the safety of these two women.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 41/115/97
UA 398/97 Fear for safety 19 December 1997
MEXICOAlba Hurtado Arias (f), aged 17, peasant activist
Rocío Mesino Mesino (f), peasant activist, human rights defender
Alba Hurtado Arias was detained on 10 December 1997, Human Rights Day, by members
of the Mexican army in Tepetixtla, Guerrero state. She was taken to Coyuca
de Benitez, where she was interrogated by soldiers claiming to be members of
military intelligence. She was questioned about the activities of Rocío Mesino
Mesino, a leading member of the Organización Campesina de la Sierra del Sur
(OCSS), Southern Sierra Peasant Organization, a peasant organization. The
soldiers warned Alba Hurtado Arias, who is also an OCSS member, that she would
be imprisoned if they saw her in Tepetixtla again. They accused her of having
links to the Ejército Popular Revolucionario (EPR), Popular Revolutionary Army,
an armed opposition group. She was released after the interrogation.
The incident, which forms part of a pattern of intimidation and other human
rights violations against members of the OCSS (see below), has raised fears
for the safety of both Alba Hurtado Arias and Rocío Mesino Mesino.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Dozens of members of the OCSS and other peasant organizations in Guerrero have
been killed in the context of disputes over peasants’ rights since the creation
of the OCSS in the Tepetixtla mountains in 1994. Nineteen-year-old Gerardo
Hurtado Arias was shot dead on 20 April 1997, the ninth OCSS member to be killed
for political reasons in 22 months (see UA 110/97, AMR 41/24/97, 22 April 1997).
OCSS members, including Rocío Mesino Mesino, have been the target of death
threats, reportedly by paramilitary groups, because of their activities for
the indigenous and peasant population in the region and because of their
outspoken criticism of the government.
The OCSS offices were raided in June 1997 by unidentified armed individuals
looking for, among other things, Rocío Mesino Mesino’s home address (see UA
172/97, AMR 41/42/97, 13 June 1997). In September two members of the Mexican
armed forces raped and tortured a 19-year-old woman Gloria Roque Bautista,
while trying to force from her information about the activities of the OCSS
leadership, including Rocío Mesino Mesino.
Rocío’s father, Hilario Mesino Acosta, an OCSS leader arrested on 3 July 1996,
was tortured and threatened with the “disappearance” and death of Rocío and
her sister Norma Mesino, also a leading peasant activist in Guerrero. Hilario
Mesino remained in prison as a prisoner of conscience on unfounded charges
of having links with the EPR until 21 June 1997, when he was released after
the courts decided there was no evidence to substantiate the charges.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in
Spanish or your own language:
- calling for an immediate and thorough investigation into the detention and
intimidation of Alba Hurtado Arias on 10 December 1997, and for those responsible
to be brought to justice;
- calling for immediate measures to ensure the safety of Alba Hurtado Arias
and of leaders of the Organización Campesina de la Sierra del Sur (OCSS), in
particular Rocío Mesino Mesino;
- expressing deep concern that members of the OCSS remain unable to carry out
their legitimate political and human rights activities free from fear for their
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safety and liberty, and calling for immediate and effective measures to remedy
this.
APPEALS TO:
1) Attorney General of the Republic
Lic. Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar
Procurador General de la República
Procuraduría General de la República
Paseo de la Reforma y Violeta
Col. Guerrero, 06300 México D.F., MEXICO
Faxes: +52 5 626 4419
Telegrams: Procurador General, Mexico, Mexico
Salutation: Sr. Procurador General / Dear Attorney General
2) Attorney General of the State of Guerrero
Lic. Antonio Hernández Díaz
Procurador del Estado de Guerrero
Carretera Nacional México-Acapulco Km. 6.300
CP 39.000, Chilpancingo, Guerrero, MEXICO.
Faxes: + 52 747 223 28 (if voice ask "me puede dar tono de fax, por favor")
Telegrams: Procador del Estado, Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico
Salutation: Sr. Procurador/ Dear State Attorney General
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
Faxes:+ 52 747 23072 (if voice ask "me puede dar tono de fax, por favor")
Telegrams: Gobernador Interino, Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico
Salutation: Sr Gobernador Interino / Dear Interim Governor
COPIES TO:
1) Human Rights Organisation
Comité Nacional Independiente
Pro-defensa de presos perseguidos y exiliados (CNI)
Apartado postal 7-887
06700 México D.F., MEXICO
Fax: + 52 5 785 9756
2) Peasant Organisation
Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Sur (UOSS)
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 February 1998.

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