Human Rights Defenders in Simojovel continue to be at risk

-Federal and local Deputies are protecting Juan Ramiro Gómez Domínguez

-The measurements of protection implemented by the Mexican State have not been efficient, effective or dissuasive

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This Human Rights Centre wants to make clear its concern regarding the imminent risk experienced daily by the members of the Parish council and the Pueblo Creyente of Simojovel, specifically Marcelo Pérez Pérez (hereafter Marcelo Pérez) the parish priest of the area.

Despite the precautionary legal measures file number MC-506-14 (hereafter MC) granted to Marcelo Pérez and ten other people by the Inter-American commission of Human Rights (hereafter CIDH), these measures have not been effective, efficient, or dissuasive.

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According to information in the possession of Frayba, both institutions: the Attorney General’s office of the Mexican Republic (PGR) and the Attorney General’s Justice office of the State of Chiapas (PGJE), failed to act with due diligence in the actions of investigation, in fact to the contrary, they have acted by not investigating the crimes and activities of Juan Gómez.

Last January Mr. Juan Gomez Dominguez, who has been accused of being one of the perpetrators of [the attacks on] Marcelo Pérez, was released by the PGR. He had been charged with the crime of carrying firearms which are for the exclusive use of the army and the air force, and was released through the revocation of the charge, due to the fact that the PGR did not carry out the actions necessary for the investigation, even though it is considered a serious charge, and one that is prosecuted ex officio. For their part, the PGJE though the Ministry of Public Affairs abandoned the prosecution for the crime of drug dealing (Crime against Health). All this allowed the perpetrator Juan Gomez to walk free.

It is important to mention that the recipients have reliable information that both Juan Gómez (previous mayor of Simojovel) and his brother Ramiro Gómez, who are both powerful political caciques (chiefs) in the region, had ties of friendship with the upper echelons of the Green Ecological Party of Mexico in Chiapas, as well as with the congressional representative Juan Romero Tenorio of the parliamentary group of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) who pushed before the congress[i] the point of agreement demanding the liberation of Juan Gómez. This is a demonstration of the power of the political friendships that the brothers Gómez Dominguez brothers have as political caciques.

Since the release of Juan Gómez, the information that we have is that the life of father Marcelo is in grave danger, as there are rumours that the “execution of the parish priest of Simojovel is worth one million pesos

The protection measures implemented by the Mexican government have not been dissuasive, since, on two different occasions, the Gómez Dominguez brothers have both written asking for a dialogue with Marcelo Pérez in the presence of politicians who protect them and promote impunity. The recipients of precautionary measures confirm that the release of Juan Gómez has revived and reactivated the acts of violence in the Simojovel with the protection of the authorities, putting the community defenders in even greater danger.

Last March, a member of the Pueblo Creyente was “lifted” in one of Simojovel’s Streets. Inside the vehicle which took him there were four hooded men with high powered firearms who interrogates him about the activities of Marcelo Pérez, his security measurements as well as the names of the members of his security team. After interrogating him and stealing his money and personal documents, they let him free with the warning that “all the people that come to the parish will be closely observed.”

The recipients of precautionary measures have informed of a sudden increase in unknown people watching the Parish house. They have also informed that Marcelo Pérez is being followed and is under constant surveillance.

The night of 30th March, in the headquarters of the municipality of Simojovel, an unidentified person tried to break in to the house of Mrs. Cielo Asunción Mendoza Blanco, a beneficiary of the precautionary measures. This is in addition to the constant surveillance that she and her family face.

This Human Rights Centre expresses its concern regarding the release of Mr. Juan Gomez, who we identify as a source of risk for the community defenders of Simojovel. We regret the lack of appropriate actions by the Mexican State to provide protection to the beneficiaries of the precautionary measures granted by CIDH

Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, AC

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México

7th April 2016

Bulletin No. 08

[i] information available in: http://gaceta.diputados.gob.mx/Black/Gaceta/Anteriores/63/2016/ene/20160113-III/Proposicion-16.html

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