Urgent Interventions

Mexico: hunger strike

Case MEX 240700

The International Secretariat of the OMCT requests your most urgent intervention in connection with the following situation in Mexico.

Brief description of the situation:

The International Secretariat has been informed of the hunger strike carried on by 19 prisoners, among them four prisoners of conscience belonging to the group "Voz de Cerro Hueco" and held in the Cerezo No.10 prison in the municipality of Comitàn in the Chiapas region.

According to information from the Mexican League for the Defence of Human Rights, LIMEDDH, a member organisation of the OMCT network, since July 3rd 2000 a total of 19 (nineteen) detainees in the Comitàn prison, among them four considered as sympathisers and adherents of the support bases of the EZLN, have declared an indefinite hunger strike the aim of which is to demand their human rights which they consider to have been violated by the state and federal authorities, as for instance procedural irregularities, the denial of due process and in addition what they term as extremely bad conditions of detention.

According to information received from members of the network of community members of Human Rights belonging to the central LIMEDDH area, the nineteen (19) prisoners taking part in the hunger strike are showing alarming signs of dehydration and under nourishment, such as temporary loss of consciousness (fainting), oral and rectal bleeding and abundant vomiting and diarrhoea, all of which symptoms may develop into an accelerated physical deterioration causing a risk to their physical and functional integrity.

According to reports there is grave concern for Rosendo Alvarez López, Roberto Hernández Aguilar, Oscar Abarca Aguilar, Edimundo Fonseca Arguello and José Raimundo Juárez, who were brutally and deceitfully separated from their companions and are held incommunicado in lamentable conditions. Moreover, due to the lack of attention to their requests, the prisoners decided to stop taking honey and sweets and to limit themselves to an intake of water. According to reports coming from the prisoners themselves, on July 22nd 2000 their companion, Catalino López Vásquez is in a very grave condition and there is fear that he may not survive further continuation of the protest.

The International Secretariat has learned that the detainees on hunger strike are the prisoners of conscience Timoteo Calvo Espinosa; Eduardo López Hernández; Edimundo Fonseca Arguello and Catalino López Vázquez, in addition to the following detainees: Domingo López Cruz; Margarito Velázquez Hernández Rosendo Alvarez López; José Reymundo Juárez; Eugenio Vázquez Hernández; Manuel Hernández Santiz; Angel Hernández Santiz; Carlos José Molina; Veroy Cambrano Osorio; Francisco Rodríguez García; Oscar Abarca Aguilar; Roberto Hernández Aguilar; Eliasar Gómez Hernández; Otaide Domínguez Lara and Judiver Solís Alvarado.

According to reports the four prisoners of conscience claim that they were detained unjustly and apparently accused of being priests and that something similar happened to their companions detained in Cerro Hueco, Tuxtla, San Cristobal L.C, Yajalon and Tapachula, Chiapas and Tacotalpa, Tabasco and they repeated that the competent authorities had denied having at their disposal effective measures to solve the cases submitted, in spite of the fact that on June 11th last magistrates of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (STJE) reported that two of the prisoners on hunger strike would be released and the charges on which they are held are not considered serious.

The reports add that after almost twenty days of a peaceful hunger strike the detainees have still not received a reply to their requests on the part of the penitentiary authorities and on the contrary, another detainee, Jorge Alberto Hernández Morales, was forcibly removed by guards of the penal institution, apparently on the express orders of Licenciado Carlos F. Córdova Solis, director of that institution, apparently to prevent him joining the strike. Such repressive action on the part of the penitentiary authorities has apparently been a constant feature since from the day the strike began reporters have been banned from entering the prison; it is forbidden to bring in honey, water and sweets for the men on hunger strike and the prisoners have been threatened with transfer to other centres.

The International Secretariat of the OMCT shares the grave concern of the LIMEDDH in the face of this situation, particularly in relation to the safety and physical and psychological integrity of the detainees on hunger strike in the Penal Institution of Comitàn.

Action requested:

Kindly write to the Mexican authorities urging them to:

i. adopt urgent and appropriate measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of the 19 (nineteen) detainees on hunger strike in the penal institution of Comitàn and the prisoners of conscience detained in the country;

ii. carry out a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the facts mentioned above, in particular the complaints of violence, ill treatment, threats and stopping assistance to the hunger strikers in order to identify those responsible and ensure that they receive the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;

iii. in general act in conformity with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the regional and international pacts and conventions ratified by Mexico, in particular the principles and minimal standards for the treatment of prisoners and detainees.


Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, Presidente Constitucional de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos,Palacio Nacional, piso 1 Col. Centro, 06067, México, D.F. Fax: (+ 52 5) 395 67 90

Lic. Diodoro Carrasco Altamirano, Secretario de Gobernación, Bucareli 99 piso 1, Col Juárez, México, DF, CP 06699. Fax: (+ 52 5 ) 703 21 71

Dr. Jorge Madrazo Cuellar, Procurador General de la República, Av. Paseo de la Reforma esq. Violeta México, D.F. CP 06300. Fax: (+ 52 5) 346 09 04

Dr.Luis Soberanes Fernández,Presidente de la CNDH Periférico Sur 3469, Cl. San Jerónimo. Fax: (+ 52 5) 681 84 90; (+52 5) 681 92 39. Email :

Lic. Roberto Armando Arbores Guillén, Gobernador del Estado de Chiapas. Palacio de Gobierno, Primer Piso, Av. Central y Primero Oriente, Col. Centro, CP 29009, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas. Tel y Fax: (+ 961) 209-17/124-18

Lic. Juan Antonio Castillejos Castellanos Director de Prevención y Readaptación Social, 1ª Norte Oriente Nº. 453, Col. Centro, 29009, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas Tel: (+ 961) 6-12-02-08; 6-13-31-54

Lic. Eduardo Montoya Liévano, Procurador General de Justicia, Libramiento Norte Oriente S/N, Tercer Nivel Col. Infonavit "El Rosario" CP 30064, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas Fax: (961) 6 53 74; 6 57 24

Mexican embassies in your respective countries.

Geneva, 24th of July 2000

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code number of this appeal in your reply.
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