Today further news from Mexico (below) tells us that the two men are alive but have been beaten and tortured in an effort to get them to sign false confessions. They are still in custody and in order to save them from further threats and torture it is vital YOU act now to demand their immediate release. In the past a sufficient international response has forced the Mexican state to cease tortures and release prisoners for example in the case of José Alfredo López Méndez seized from Diez de Abril in June of 1998 who is now back with his family.
At the end of this message we include a sample letter for sending to the ambassador and contact address, fax and email for other relevant officials. Please take a couple of minutes to send in your protest.
Irish Mexico Group
Date: Tuesday, February 9, 1999 18:52:37 -0600 From: FBC Human Rights Center <email@example.com>
ILLEGAL DETENTION AND INCOMMUNICADO STATUS OF TWO INDIGENOUS FROM LA MENDOZA, MUNICIPALITY OF CHANAL, CHIAPAS
Yesterday, February 8, the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center received the denunciation concerning the detention of DANIEL GOMEZ VELAZCO and JOSE ANGEL GOMEZ VELAZCO, both tzeltal indigenous. The detention occurred on February 6 at 10:30 AM at the military checkpoint at La Peninsula, in the Municipality of Ocosingo. According to the testimony of the driver of the van in which they were travelling, the men were detained by members of the Mexican National Army and Public Security Police forces of the state of Chiapas. In addition, evidence gathered by this Human Rights Center indicates that the Gomez Velazcos were blindfolded, beaten and their physical integrity assaulted.
Originally published in Spanish by Enlace Civil A.C. <firstname.lastname@example.org> ________________________ Translated by irlandesa Date: Wednesday, February 10, 1999 18:53:25 +0600 From: email@example.com
During the morning of February 10, Human Rights organizations were able to visit the two tzeltal indigenous, Daniel Gomez Velazco and Jose Angel Velazco, who had been missing since February 6, following their detention by members of the Mexican Army at "La Peninsula" military checkpoint in the municipality of Ocosingo. Since that date, several civil and human rights organizations had set about the task of verifying the whereabouts of the two men, without positive results. Ultimately, however, they were located at the Public Ministry Agency Office of the PGR in Ocosingo, which had previously denied their presence.
The first reports of the capture of the indigenous came from the driver of the van in which they had been travelling when they were detained. He had noted that they had been blindfolded, and then beaten. This report was verified by the detainees, who said that the soldiers removed their shirts, so that they could then use them to blindfold them with. They were kept like that for close to an hour, while they were kicked and punched by their captors. That same day they were transferred to the PGR.
The interrogations continued in the PGR facilities. They were beaten and tortured, physically as well as psychologically. They threatened to detain and mistreat their families if they did not sign a statement declaring they were zapatista militants and that they had been carrying ammunition.
Yesterday afternoon a man who identified himself as the PGR opthamalogist presented himself, and, after hitting them, threatened them, saying they would not be leaving the jail for at least 40 years.
The two indigenous have been severely affected, physically and emotionally, as a consequence of the illegal detention, of being held incommunicado, of the humiliations and the lack of food to which they have been subjected.
They note that, during the interrogations, they were shown a photograph of one of them, taken in Mexico City on September 12, 1997 during the March of the 1111. They also noted that the interpreter they were given said that he did not understand what they were saying.
Yesterday they were sent to the judge, and the case is registered under File No. 32-99. The Federal Public Minister, in the name of the state government, accused them of violating the Federal Firearms and Explosives Law, through the transportation of ammunition and of rebellion. They were assigned a Public Defender from the joint court of Ocosingo, by the name of Miguel Angel Hernandez Morales. It is expected that the two detained indigenous will be transferred to the Cerro Hueco Jail in Tuxtla Gutierrez during the afternoon.
On the evening of February 9, Enlace Civil A.C. presented a formal complaint to the National Human Rights Commission, for the purpose of denouncing the violation of the indigenous' human rights, and of requesting precautionary measures in order to protect their safety and their right to make a statement with the presence of a lawyer whom they trust.
We vehemently repudiate the actions of the federal Army, of attempting, through the charges against the two indigenous persons, to create the belief that the zapatistas are supplying munitions.
We demand an end to the human rights violations of the detainees.
We ask that urgent actions be sent to the Attorney General of the Republic, asking for an end to the incommunicado status in which the detainees have been maintained.
We call for the intervention of the Commission of Concordance and Peace, since actions such as this even further compromise a climate approporiate for an eventual renewal of the peace talks.
Parejo S'cotol, Ciuspaz, Municipal Assembly in Resistance of Nicolas Ruiz, Enlace Civil A.C., Kinal, Cepaz
Sample text [Edit as needed]
XXXI am appalled by the illegal arrest and torture by the Mexican Federal Army of Daniel Gomez Velasco and Jose Angel Gomez Velasco from La Mendoza, Chiapas on the 6th of February. I demand that they be released and compensated immediately.
Mexican Embassy in Ireland Mexican Embassy 43 Ailesbury Rd Dublin 4 Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of Mexico Fax: + (52) (5) 626-44-26 +(52) (5) 626-44-78 Outside Mexico, dial: (01) (5) 626-44-26 (01)(5) 626-44-78 Email: http://www.pgr.gob.mx/frames/framej.htm (Email can be sent from the above web page) Copies of letters sent to the above may be forwarded to: firstname.lastname@example.org and the IMG at email@example.com