Chiapas: political prisoners suspend hunger strike, fearing risk to lives

At the point of completing 40 days without food, 10 prisoners in Mexico‘s southern state of Chiapas—plus one who had been transfered out of state—ended their hunger strike Nov. 7, citing the imminent threat to their health and the lack of any response to their demands from state or federal authorities. Their family members and supporters have taken up the struggle by launching an ongoing protest vigil (plantĂłn) outside the State Center of Social Reinsertion (CERSS), and blockading the San CristĂłbal-Ocosingo highway that passes by the facility.

The action was organized by the Other Campaign, the civil movement linked to the Zapatista rebels, and the prisoner support group Voz de Amate (Voice of Amate). The prisoners are being held at the CERSS; at Amate prison in Cintalapa, officially Social Readaptation Center 14 (CERESO 14); and at a state prison in Motozintla. One prisoner, university professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, was recently transferred to the Federal Center for Social Readaptation 8 (CEFERESO 8) in Guasave, Sinaloa.

The prisoners—mostly Tzotzil Maya men and women—say they have been subject to beatings and torture, and charge authorities have arbitrarily transferred them to distant locations to separate them from their families and supporters. Serving time for kidnapping and homicide, they say the charges against them were false and were politically motivated, and their convictions tainted by irregularities and racism. The movement is demanding “immediate liberty” for the 10. The local Fray BartolomĂ© de Las Casas Center for Human Rights is calling on the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) to intervene in the cases. (La Jornada, Nov, 7; LJ, Animal Politico, Nov. 5; SIPAZ, Oct. 28; Kaos en la Red, Oct. 22)

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