The Chiapas-based human rights group Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas (Frayba) has filed an injunction to halt legal proceedings against eight men accused of robbing vehicles traveling on the Ocosingo-Palenque highway. Frayba alleges that the men, who are members of the Tzeltal indigenous community in Chiapas, were arbitrarily detained, tortured, and ultimately forced to confess to crimes they did not commit. One of the men is affiliated with the EZLN and the others with another indigenous autonomy advocacy group, Otra Campaña.
The Chiapas Attorney General’s Office has charged that the eight suspects, arrested in mid-April, are responsible for vehicle robbery and involvement in organized crime. Community members who participated in a march to demand the Tzeltals’ release counter that the charges against the men were fabricated and that the real culprits remain free in neighboring communities and have operated in the region for the past two years with protection from state police. The defendants’ attorney claims that their arrest was political in nature, coming from the highest levels of the Chiapas state government.
Bellinghausen, Hermann. “Chiapas: ditan formal prisión contra ocho campesinos tzeltales.” La Jornada May 8, 2009.
Mandujano, Isaín. “Formal prisión a ocho indígenas tzeltales en Chiapas.” Proceso May 9, 2009.