Mexico: peasant ecologist imprisoned in Oaxaca

Pablo López Alavés, a Zapotec leader of the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca "Ricardo Flores Magón" (CIPO-RFM), was abducted Aug. 15 by a group of some 20 masked and black-clad men armed with rifles who stopped his car outside his pueblo of San Isidro Aloapam when he was going to gather wood with his wife, two daughters and five-year-old son. The gunmen broke his car window before forcing him from his vehicle and transferring him to their own unmarked truck. The family members returned to the pueblo and alerted his CIPO-RFM comrades, who in turn alerted the authorities and began a search. It was initially assumed he was kidnapped by paramilitaries in league with local talamontes, or illegal timber exploiters, whose operations CIPO-RFM has long opposed. But the following day authorities revealed he is being held at the state prison at Etla, apparently on assault charges. In 2000, López Alavés had faced charges of "attacking the means of communication" related to roadblocks protesting the talamontes, but was acquitted. CIPO-RFM calls the current charges politically motivated and is demanding his release. (CIPO-RFM communique, Aug. 18; CIPO-RFM communique, Aug. 17)

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