Roberto Paciencia Cruz on the day of his release, Photo @: Espoir Chiapas
On February 2, the No Estamos Todxs Working Group (GTNET in its Spanish acronym) and the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, (CDHFBC, also known as Frayba) expressed their concern in a joint statement over the risk to personal freedom of Roberto Paciencia Cruz. Roberto is an indigenous Tsotsil from Chenalho, Chiapas and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle. On August 9, 2013 he was arrested and charged with an alleged abduction. The GTNET and the CDHFBC recall in their communiqué that at the time of Roberto’s arrest and imprisonment “acts of torture, arbitrary detention and unfair trial were documented, violating the rights of personal liberty, integrity, personal security and access to due process.” They add that “since his arrest, and throughout a judicial process that lasted three years and three months, Roberto did not cease to fight against the injustices of the corrupt Mexican justice system, until on November 26, 2016, he was released on recognition of innocence by the Judge of the Criminal Branch of the Judicial District of San Cristobal de Las Casas, by acquittal “.
However, despite not being able to sustain an accusation against Paciencia during the trial, and despite the violations mentioned against him, the public prosecutor filed an appeal against that acquittal. The GTNET and the CDHFBC emphasize that, “the arbitrary and unjust detention of Roberto brought physical and psychological consequences for him and his family, disrupting his life plans and generating family impoverishment.”
According to information in their possession, they report that “the study of the case and the proposed sentence of appeal will be in charge of the Speaker C, of the Mixed Regional Court, Zone 3, San Cristobal de Las Casas, headed by Judge Ramiro Joel Ramirez Sanchez; the proposal will be voted by the judges who hold court in the middle of February.” The likelihood that the sentence of acquittal of Roberto Paciencia can be modified generates a situation of uncertainty, stress and anxiety for him and his family.
The GTNET and the CDHFBC exhort Judge Ramiro Joel Ramirez Sanchez and the members of the Mixed Regional Court, Zone 03 of San Cristóbal de Las Casas “to confirm the acquittal, because there are no legal elements to revoke the said sentence.” In addition, they ask the adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle and national and international civil society to be attentive to the resolution of the Mixed Regional Court and to carry out solidarity actions for Roberto Paciencia Cruz and his family when they can.