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images 2Amnesty International Urgent Action: Key eyewitnesses into the killings of two human rights defenders have been harassed in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. This is an apparent attempt to stop them from giving testimony in court. Their lives could be at risk. On 22 January relatives of a man who has been arrested in connection with the killing of human rights defenders Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola intimidated two Indigenous women who witnessed the events. Both witnesses are soon due to give oral testimonies in court. The relatives confronted the two women (whose names are withheld for security reasons) in the town of El Carrizal, Oaxaca State, southern Mexico, where the women live, and told them to retract their previous written testimonies. Both witnesses have since left El Carrizal. On 3 and 4 February the same people turned up at their home and told their relative that “something bad can happen” (algo malo puede pasar) if the women do not retract their testimonies. State authorities have provided insufficient security measures for the women to date. 

SIGN Urgent Action online

Read the complete Ugent Action issued by Amnesty International

For more information on the case of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola see: 4 years and 7 months on, presumed murderer of human-rights defenders is apprehended,  Parents of Jyri Jaakola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice,  Mexico promises justice for unsolved murders,  Human rights defender Mr Omar Esparza Zárarte on hunger strike over impunity for the assassination of Bety Cariño, Public letter by civil society demands justice 4 Bety Cariño & Jyri Jaakkola

This edition of our bimonthly Newsletter by EDUCA Oaxaca A.C. contains four articles on four different women in the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Veracruz in southern and southwestern Mexico. The articles range from reports of threats against human rights defenders to International protection policies for women human rights defenders, and the promotion of gender equality through art and music. They aim to represent a variety of voices struggling to defend their rights as women and as human beings in a corrupt and unequal society. 


Oaxaca: Zapotec women human rights defenders receive new threats

Proyecto-defensores-presentacion-05New threats have been made against Silvia Pérez Yescas, an Indigenous human rights defender from the community of Matías Romero in Oaxaca, south-western Mexico. So far the protection measures granted to her by the authorities have been insufficient. Her life and safety remain at risk. On 13 January Silvia Pérez learned that members of her organization, Indigenous Women for the Conservation, Research and Use of Natural Resources (Mujeres Indígenas por Conservación, Investigación y Aprovechamiento de los Recursos Naturales, CIARENA) were threatened by people claiming to have been sent by a local political chief (cacique) who told them, “Stop fucking around, because you could even be thrown in jail for being Silvia’s accomplices, she's going to be fucked for meddling in the land problem and there are people waiting for her when she shows up”.

Screenshot 24Claudia Medina Tamariz, who survived 36 hours of physical, psychological and sexual torture in her home in Veracruz, Mexico, by members of the Mexican Marine (SEMAR), and has been released on bail, remains on trial for allegations of illegal firearms possession.

Bearing in mind that the sole source of evidence for the indictment came from SEMAR itself, Claudia Medina was not granted her freedom by the Third Federal District Judge, based in Boca del Rio, Veracruz, in her December 2014 trial. Her defense condemned this act, maintaining that Claudia Medina was tortured in order to falsely confess her guilt of the crime.

Within the next few days, Arturo Gómez Ochoa, judge of the Third Unitary Tribunal of Xalapa, Veracruz, will have the chance to grant Claudia her immediate freedom. It is now up to Gómez Ochoa, to resolve the appeal against the judge’s decision. 

310003 10152751160285117 1506010008 nOn 21 January, Elías Cruz Merino, leader of the Movement for Triqui Unification and Struggle (MULT) and official of San Juan Copala, was arrested as one of the presumed murderers of the human-rights defenders Bety Cariño y Jyri Jaakkola (Finnish). Both were killed in April 2010 as they participated in a humanitarian caravan headed to San Juan Copala. Cruz Merino is accused of the premeditated murder of the two activists.

Since April of last year, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers denounced that those responsible for the murders had been plainly identified, but that the government had refused to implement the corresponding arrest-orders.

For more information see: Parents of Jyri Jaakola visit Mexico for fifth time to demand justice,  Mexico promises justice for unsolved murders,  Human rights defender Mr Omar Esparza Zárarte on hunger strike over impunity for the assassination of Bety Cariño, Public letter by civil society demands justice 4 Bety Cariño & Jyri Jaakkola, In response to 4 years of impunity, hunger strikes and protests taken to resist murders of Bety Cariño and Jyri Jaakkola

B9CNT1wCMAAL5MpOn January 28th, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a report on the precautionary measures that have been requested for indigenous community police (or CRAC) leader Nestora Salgado, who currently requires medical attention while being deprived of her liberty at a maximum security prison in Nayarit, Mexico. She was arrested by police and military units on August 21st, 2013, and charged with aggravated kidnapping and organized crime.

Besides precautionary measures demanded to protect Salgado’s rights to life and personal integrity, the original request to the IACHR also denounced violations of her rights to due process, presumption of innocence and access to appropriate legal defense. As cited in the IAHCR report, “…due to the alleged ‘increase in violence, violent crimes and political corruption,” the proposed beneficiary decided to become “a human rights defender and participate in the movement in “defense of indigenous rights in Olianá, and led the organization of a group of Community Police in Olianá’.”

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