dorset chiapas solidarity

January 28, 2014

Ejidatarios Displaced from Chenalhó Suffer Threats when Harvesting their Coffee Fields

Ejidatarios Displaced from Chenalhó Suffer Threats when Harvesting their Coffee Fields

 ** Indigenous Tzeltal unjustly arrested and imprisoned receives amparo (protection order)

By: Hermann Bellinghausen

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, January 26th, 2014

ricardoRepresentatives of the displaced people from the ejido Puebla, in Chenalhó, who on Monday will complete 10 days harvesting the coffee fields which they left behind last August, announced that they will return to take refuge again in the Las Abejas camp in Acteal, where they have been staying for six months, because conditions for their definitive return still do not exist and the state government has not fulfilled the demands of the indigenous, Nicolás Cruz Pérez stated today.

“During the time we have been harvesting the coffee we have received threats and attacks, we have a list of these acts, and are letting the Public Prosecutor (who the government sent from January 17 to 27) know about the threats and attacks,” which are the same ones Governor Manuel Velasco Coello was told about “on his visit to our ejido on January 22,” added the indigenous, insisting on a “just and dignified” return.

The demands of the families, who were displaced by the violence of an officialist (pro-government) group from the community are: reparations for damages (robberies, damage to property and crops), restitution of the chapel annexed by the ejido authorities, and the application of the law to the numerous crimes committed by the officialist group.

During the time that they have stayed in the ejido, the displaced have received continual insults and threats of the same kind that dispossessed them of the chapel. 

Antonio Estrada Estrada

In another matter, it was reported that the Tzeltal campesino Antonio Estrada Estrada, from San Sebastián Bachajón (Chilón), received an amparo (legal protection order) which opens the door to his final acquittal. Released from prison last December 24th, until now his freedom has not been complete.

The state government released Estrada, an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, after he had been arrested illegally, tortured and unjustly deprived of his freedom for more than two years. When he left the prison at Playas de Catazajá the accusations of a federal crime, although unfounded, were still hanging over him. For this reason he still has to go periodically to sign in at a lower court in the state capital.

The lawyer Ricardo Lagunes Gasca, legal representative of the ejidatarios, explained that his liberation was through a benefit of law granted by the Chiapas government. However, “Antonio has not legally regained his innocence,” plus he also faces a federal trial before the sixth district judge in Tuxtla Gutiérrez. This trial derives from the same matter for which he was sentenced to more that seven years; now the charge is added of carrying a firearm for the exclusive use of the Army.

On Friday, 24th January, added the lawyer, “the third collegiate tribunal in Tuxtla Gutiérrez issued the decision in the case of the petition for amparo filed by Estrada in September 2013, challenging the sentence of more that seven years in prison delivered by the lower court judge of Playas de Catazajá, for the alleged crimes of armed robbery and organized crime, of which he was accused by specialized police from the State’s Prosecutor General of Justice.”

In its judgement, the federal tribunal decided in favour of the indigenous man: “due to the violations of his human rights it awarded him the amparo outright, which has the effect of absolving him completely of the acts for which he spent more than two years unjustly imprisoned.”

With this resolution the doors are open for the judge of the sixth district in Tuxtla Gutiérrez “to grant Antonio Estrada Estrada his complete freedom in the federal criminal case which is being heard in that court, and for him to finally recover his complete legal freedom,” the lawyer concluded.

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Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Monday, January 27, 2014

En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2014/01/27/politica/019n1pol

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