Two Indigenous rights defenders disappeared in Guerrero, Mexico
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Two Indigenous rights defenders disappeared in Guerrero, Mexico

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John Ahni Schertow
February 20, 2009
 

Below, an urgent request for action from the Human Rights Centre of Montaña, in support of two indigenous huam rights defenders and leaders of the Organization for the Future of Mixteco People (OFPM), who have been “disappeared” since February 13th.

Urgent Action – Two Indigenous community organizers disappeared in Guerrero, Mexico since Feb 13th

Dear friends and allies,

On behalf of the team that constitutes Tlachinollan, I am writing to ask for your help with an Urgent Action for RAUL LUCAS LUCIA and MANUEL PONCE ROSAS, two Indigenous human rights defenders and leaders of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM) – which works in coordination with the Organization of the Me Phaa Indigenous People (OPIM) – who have been disappeared since February 13th.

The disappearance took place on Friday, February 13th around 1:35p.m. when three armed men who identified themselves as police officers, entered the public event that Raul and Manuel were attending, proceeding to take them away by force. Since that moment, they have been disappeared, without any authority having responded for them. For these reasons we are incredibly worried for their safety and physical and psychological integrity.

Attached is a sample letter which can be used, although original letters tend to be more effective. The sample contains a brief summary of the case. Please send letters to each of the authorities listed at the end of the sample letter. We greatly appreciate your solidarity.

Warm greetings and for more information,

Jane Jones
Collaborator with the International Area
Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña
(Human Rights Centre of Montaña)
Tlachinollanjanetlachinollan@gmail.com

SAMPLE LETTER

DATE/NAME

Dear (name),

We/I am writing (from NAME OF ORGANIZATION if aplicable) to express my/our concern for the security of RAUL LUCAS LUCIA and MANUEL PONCE ROSAS; two human rights defenders of the the Organización para el Futuro del Pueblo Mixteco (OFPM) who were arbitrarily detained in a public event in Ayutla de los Libres on February 13th by three men who identified themselves as police officers. They have been disappeared.

The OFMP, like the Organizacion del Pueblo Indigena Tlapaneco (OPIT) comes from the Organizacion Independiente de Pueblos Mixtecos y Tlapanecos (OIPMT). It has its base in Ayutla de los Libres and is dedicated to the defense of the indigenous communities of the region and to denouncing the attacks and violations of human rights as well as expanded its work to the creation and management of productive projects which aid in the improvement of the economic conditions and nutrition of the indigenous peoples of this region.

Raul Lucas Lucia is the President and Manuel Ponce Rosas is the Secretary of the organization. Lucas Lucia has suffered a series of threats for his work in denouncing multiple cases of human rights violations by the Mexican Army, highlighting acts of illegal searches, detentions and interrogations, amongst others. He suffered interrogation and illegal detention by members of the Mexican Army on October 18th, 2006. On February 15th, 2007, he was the target of an ambush by unidentified persons who left him with a bullet wound in his neck which almost cost him his life.

On February 13th, 2009, at approximately 1:15p.m., Raul Lucas Lucia and Manuel Ponce Rosas were at an event to which they were invited by Guadalupe Castro Morales, the Councilor of Indigenous Affairs, wife of Raul, for the inauguration of the construction of some offices for the General Secondary Schools, in the city of Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero. This event was to take place in the supervision zone of Secundarias, located on the highway Ayutla-Tecoanapa.

At the above-mentioned event were also present the Director of Public Works of the Municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero, the Director of Public Safety of the same municipality, Luis Jose Sanchez Hernandez, as well as a commission of Councilors and one teacher. The inauguration event began approximately at 1:30p.m., with the participation of 35 people, between guests of the Municipality and other teachers. It must be pointed out that before the event began, the Director of Public Safety, along with 25 Preventive Police officers were securing the area, but when Guadalupe Castro Morales, in her role as Councilor, began to speak, she noticed that the Director received a phone call and immediately left along with his officers in the direction of the centre of the city of Ayutla.

Minutes later, at about 1:35p.m., three subjects carrying heavy arms entered the event and went towards where the President and the Secretary of the Organizacion para el Futuro de los Pueblso Mixtecos, Raul Lucas Lucia and Manuel Ponce Rosas, were sitting. They both shouted “police” and were immediately assaulted by blows to the head in order to overpower them and practically drag them out of the event.

Lucas Lucia and Ponce Rosas were taken against their will into a vehicle which was already on and had a driver waiting in it. The vehicle took off at high speed with Manuel, Raul and their captors in the direction of the Ayutla-Acapulco highway. Since that moment, the whereabouts of the Secretary and the President of the indigenous organization are unknown.

It is important to mention that around 2:30p.m., Mrs. Guadalupe Castro Morales received a call on her cell phone which was coming from the cell phone of the missing Manuel Ponce Rosas. When she answered, a male voice told her “Don’t start ‘fucking around’, stay quiet or else we’ll kill your husband, this is happening to them for defending Indians”. Mrs. Castro attempted to dialogue with them to ask that they not harm the men and let them free, however, the man hung up.

Between the afternoon of the 13th and Saturday the 14th, Guadalupe Castro Morales observed on two occasions, a pair of strange persons who stopped on the corner in front of her house. For fear that she was being observed or that her house would be entered, she felt it necessary to temporarily leave her home.

It is important to also mention that on February 13th, Guadalupe Castro went to the office of the Public Ministry of the Common Jurisdiction of the Prosecutor of Guerrero, in Ayutla, to denounce the forced disappearance of her husband. However, personnel of the Prosecutor refused to open an investigation into the crimes committed and only opened a Ministerial act numbered ALLE/SC/03/AM/015/2009 so that there would be a legal antecedent. This act, however, does not open up an investigation.

The refusal to open a Preceding Investigation (Averiguación Previa), shows the inefficiency of the existing resources, since in the State of Guerrero, there exists the Law to Prevent and Sanction the Forced Disappearance of People which establishes that the said human rights violation is a crime and as such, the Prosecutor is obligated to investigate it.

In the same manner, it is important to point out that Margarita Martin de las Nieves and Guadalupe Castro Morales submitted before the Seventh District Court, which is found in the city of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, an appeal for lack of communication, asking that their husbands who are disappeared be searched for in installations of the police and armed forces though the said appeal has thus far not produced any results in determining their whereabouts.

BEFORE THESE FACTS, WE DEMAND:

– (Before the State and Federal governments), the presentation of Raul Lucas Lucia and Manuel Ponce Rosas alive, with the preservation of their physical and psychological integrity.
– That the authorities which carry out justice start an effective, diligent and impartial investigation in order to sanction those responsible for the detention of Raul Lucas Lucia and Manuel Ponce Rosas as well as disclose their whereabouts.
– That protective measures be put in place for the relatives of Raul Lucas Lucia and Manuel Ponce Rosas in order to avoid an attack on their physical and psychological states.

Sincerely,
NAME

Please send copies to:

C. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza
Procurador General de la República
Procuraduría General de la República,
Av. Paseo de la Reforma Nº 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, México D.F., C.P. 06500, MÉXICO
Fax:+52 55 5346 0908 (si responde una voz, digan: “me da tono de fax, por favor”)

General Guillermo Galván Galván
Secretario de Defensa Nacional
Manuel Avila Camacho, esq. Con Av. Industria Militar S/N
Col. Lomas de Sotelo
México DF
Tel: +52 55 5557 5571 5395 3663
dn_sdn@mailsedena.gob.mx

Lic. Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo
Gobernador del Estado de Guerrero
Palacio de Gobierno, Edificio Centro, piso 2, Ciudad de los Servicios
CP 39075, Chilpancingo, Guerrero, MÉXICO
Fax:+52 747 471 9956

Lic. Eduardo Murueta Urrutia
Procurador del Estado de Guerrero
Carretera Nacional México-Acapulco Km. 6+300
Tramo Chilpancingo-Petaquillos, Chilpancingo 39090, Guerrero, MÉXICO
Fax: +52 747 472 2328
cprocurador@pgjgro.gob.mx

Armando García Rendón
Presidente Municipal de Ayutla de los Libres
Palacio Municipal de los Libres, Gro.
Plaza Principal, C.P. 39200
Tel: (01-745) 455 02 21 (Ayuntamiento)
Fax: (01 745) 4-55-06-71

Enrique Jorge Alonso Garrido
Comandante de la novena Región Militar
Tel: (+52) (01) 744 444 4029

Centro de Derechos Humanos de La Montaña Tlachinollan.
Mina #77, Col. Centro, Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero, México.
C.P. 41304
Teléfono: (+52) (01) 757 476 12 20
Fax: (+52) (01) 757 476 12 00
Correo electrónico: cdhm@tlachinollan.org

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