Intolerable Abuse of José Mireles

La Jornada: Editorial

IMG_0635At the District Court in Uruapan, Michoacán, a judge ordered prison authorities at the Federal Center for Social Rehabilitation in Hermosillo, Sonora, immediately to provide José Manuel Mireles with the food and water necessary to keep his diabetes under control; to provide the detainee with required medical care and to stop obstructing interviews between Mireles and his defense lawyers. The same court took cognizance of the abuse and humiliations inflicted on the accused. Meanwhile, another judge from the amparo court [separate court that issues legal protection, i.e., injunction] is analyzing the legality or illegality of the Tepalcatepec physician’s transfer to a detention center far [1,614 kilometers; about 1,000 miles] from Michoacán, where he was captured and where he [allegedly] committed the crimes attributed to him by the Attorney General’s Office.

In various sectors of society the impression is growing that the self-defense leader was caught by means of "corrupt and crafty practices" (Father Alejandro Solalinde’s phrase) like "planting" weapons and drugs. Moreover, there is certainly evidence that federal authorities have committed clear violations of Mireles’ human rights. Since the moment of his detention last Friday in the Michoacán town of La Mira, Mireles has been subjected to taunts, psychological pressures and unacceptable abuses. The most serious violation, which threatens his life, is depriving Mireles of needed medications [Mireles has diabetes].

Moreover, even if it were not true that the authorities "planted" evidence to frame him, Mireles’ arrest was a discretionary, arbitrary and unfair application of the Federal Law of Firearms and Explosives, legislation that was suspended in Michoacán by Commissioner Alfredo Castillo, and whose applicability is in question, to say the least, in a social environment in which both armed offenders and law-abiding citizens proliferate in view of everyone. In this environment, ordinary citizens seek, in an organized manner or not, pistols and rifles to defend their lives and their properties.

Regardless of one’s appreciation of the Michoacán physician, of the movement in which he participates and the differences that have emerged with similar groups, and with state and federal governments, those charged with enforcing the laws have engaged in a public display of abuse and a violation of a citizen’s individual rights.

Certainly, it is not about any single citizen, but about a man who stands on a promontory of visibility. If [political] leaders are allowed to act with him as they have, it’s worth Pondering what nameless people can expect from police and military organizations, and from agencies charged with administering justice. The answer is alarming andinfuriating.

A true state of law must begin by respecting and enforcing compliance with the human rights of all people, regardless of their socioeconomic status, regardless of the reputation of their public lives or even their legal circumstance; that is, regardless of whether they are presumed innocent–as, in principle, everyone is–or confessed and convicted criminals. Otherwise, the legal framework gives way to discretion, abuse and ineffectiveness, as the country can verify with an unquantifiable share of suffering, destruction and pain over the past six years.

Finally, it’s impossible not to perceive both cruelty and a vindictive, chastising spirit in the federal government’s treatment of Mireles. This attitude is incompatible with the level-headedness and even with the seriousness that should characterize those in positions of authority in public administration. For the sake of legality, for the integrity of the defendant and even for the public image of the current administration, such attitudes must be set aside. The government should limit itself to scrupulously respecting the rights of this and other defendants and of guaranteeing them a legal process tied to the law.

Translated by Jane Brundage


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