Arbitrary deprivation of liberty of EZLN support base denounced
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
December 18, 2015
Arbitrary deprivation of liberty and violation of judicial guarantees of an EZLN support base.
The Human Rights Centre Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Frayba), has documented the arbitrary deprivation of liberty and lack of due process in the arrest of José Jose Alfonso Cruz Espinosa (José Alfonso) Support Base of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN).
According to information documented by Frayba, José Alfonso was arrested on 10th November, 2015, at approximately 14:00 hours, in the municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico. People in civilian clothes, who did not identify themselves, and who did not present an arrest warrant or indicate the reason for the arrest, put him in a van and took him to the commander of the Special Police in the headwaters of the same municipality.
As stated in the criminal case 559/2015, he was admitted to the State Centre for the Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No 16, El Encino (CERSS No. 16 El Encino); when he got there he was neither told the reason for his arrest nor was he allowed to make a phone call. At 15:57 hours he was made available to Omar Heleria Reyes, Joint Judge of the First Instance in Ocosingo, without the judge doing an adequate job on the case.
On 11th November at 12:00 he was transferred by helicopter to the State Centre for the Social Reinsertion of the Sentenced No 14, El Amate, where he arrived at 15:00 hours, twenty-four hours after his arrest; only after an amparo against his situation of having no communication, promoted by the Centre for Human Rights, was he allowed to make a telephone call to advise on where he was. The transfer of José Alfonso was arbitrarily ordered by the Joint Judge of Ocosingo.
It is important to stress that lawyers from Frayba presented themselves to the Joint Court of Ocosingo and CERSS No 16, El Encino, on 11th November at 10:00 in order to document the situation of José Alfonso and start the process of legal defence. At all times they denied us access to him and accreditation as his lawyers, saying that he had already been transferred, which turned out to be untrue as the transfer took place at 12:00, as mentioned above.
The crimes alleged against him are ecocide and plunder, following events on 16th November 2012. For the crime of ecocide he was made available to the Second Court of Criminal Matters for the Attention of Serious Crimes, and for the crime of plunder, he was made available to the Third Court of Criminal Matters for the Attention of Serious Crimes; however under the criminal code of Chiapas none of the alleged offences are serious. On 18th November an order for his formal arrest was issued; practically, he had spent more than 144 hours without his legal status being determined.
These actions in violation of human rights were intended to hamper a proper defence; because every time José Alonso insisted on his innocence, he asked to speak with his lawyers and family and was denied this along with the information that he is a BAEZLN. In both offences the defence requested the extension of the constitutional term and the imposition of bail for his release, which was set at the amount of 136,122.96 pesos for both offences, an excessive amount to prevent bail being paid. On 20th November, 2015, at approximately 19:00, José Alfonso obtained his release on bail under caution, after paying the bail set, so the process can run its course.
Given the human rights violations that occurred during the detention and investigation of the actions of which José Alfonso Cruz Espinosa is accused, on 9th and 10th December, amparos were presented before the district courts in Tuxtia Gutierrez, Chiapas, against the two formal charges dictated. The amparos fell to the fifth and sixth district courts.
It is important to mention that, according to court records, the alleged offences were committed on 16th November, 2012; however José Alfonso was not at the scene of the crime on the day the acts were allegedly committed. In December 2012 the Good Government Junta Towards a New Dawn publicly denounced the judicial harassment towards a BAEZLN, specifically José Alfonso. On 8th November, 2013, the Good Government Junta Path to the Future publicly denounced the fabrication of crimes against José Alonso.
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