[News] Hunger Strike in Mexican Maximum Security Jail

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Fri Jan 16 08:40:16 EST 2004


Subject: Urgent Action needed: Hunger Strike in Mexican Maximum Security Jail

** please circulate **

January 11, 2004
URGENT ACTION


HUNGER STRIKE IN MEXICAN MAXIMUM SECURITY JAIL

Over three hundred and fifty prisoners in La Palma maximum-security jail
went on hunger strike on January 6, 2004.That same day, two political
prisoners, who were recently transferred to Puente Grande, and Matamoros
prisons joined the hunger strike. The prisoners demands are: 1) To bring
back the prisoners to jails closer to where their families live. 2) To
improve the living conditions inside the jail, namely, medical service,
food, etc; stop the repression and harassment to which they are constantly
subjected; and to release the prisoners from inside the punishment cells,
where they are isolated and not allowed to have any contact with other
human being for long periods of time. The wardens threatened the prisoners
on strike with punishments that are a flagrant violation of Mexican and
international law and attempted to forcefully break the strike.

Here is a list of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience and
their situation in regards to the hunger strike:


1. Jacobo Silva Nogales, on hunger strike since January 6

2. Sergio Bautista Martinez, on hunger strike since Jan 6 to Jan 8;
lifted the strike because the Mexican government promised to transfer him
back to La Palma prison

3. Alfredo Duran Mata, on hunger strike since January 6 to January 8;
lifted the strike because the Mexican government promised to transfer him
back to La Palma prison

4. Antonio Cerezo Contreras, on hunger strike since January 8

Hundreds of common prisoners are also on hunger strike since January 6,
2004.


Background:


There is a continuous policy of extermination inside Mexican jails being
practiced by the Mexican government. In December 2003, a prisoner died in
La Palma jail due to lack of medical attention. In November 2003,
political prisoners Sergio Bautista Martinez and Alfredo Duran Mata were
illegally transferred from La Palma prison to the jails of Puente Grande
and Matamoros, which are hundreds of kilometers away from where their
families reside. Illegal, denigrating strip-searches and x-rays are
conducted on a regular basis against the prisoners families and visitors.

Jacobo Silva Nogales, one of the prisoners of La Palma, on hunger strike
since January 6, 2004, was on hunger strike for 61 days in 2002. At that
time he was demanding the release of hundreds of political prisoners and
prisoners of conscience in Mexico, including him. Silva has been mentioned
in the Amnesty International recommendation to the Mexican government
Mexico: Cases of Torture AMR 41/008/2001 and in the UN Opinion 37/2000,
which states that Jacobo Silva, his wife Gloria Arenas, and two other
prisoners of conscience, Fernando Gatica and Felicitas Padilla were
arbitrarily arrested and should be freed.


On the night of January 10, 2004, the authorities of La Palma
maximum-security prison attempted to demoralize the prisoners on hunger
strike by irrupting into their cells and searching their belongings
several times.


The living conditions inside Mexican maximum-security prisons and the
lack of medical attention in La Palma prison are in violation of articles
4, 16, 18, 19, and 20, of the Mexican Constitution, which say that, Every
person has the right to health protection, and that, No prisoner will be
transferred against his or her will. The Universal Declaration of Human
Rights is also being violated in its article 5: No one shall be subjected
to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Urgent action is needed. Address your letters to:


1) Vicente Fox, President of Mexico

2) Santiago Creel, Secretary of Governance

For both send an E-mail to: rsepulveda at segob.gob.mx

Please send a copy to: gfappm2 at yahoo.ca

Or by regular mail to:
GRFPPM
365-65 W. Cordova St.
Vancouver, BC
V6B 8P6 Canada


Your letters will be delivered to the Mexican consul in Vancouver.

Please also send personalized copies of your message to Canadian Foreign
Affairs Minister, Bill Graham to the following email address:
Graham.B at parl.gc.ca

This Urgent Action was posted by the Vancouver-based Group of Relatives
and Friends of Political Prisoners in Mexico www.mexprisoners.com Tel.
(604) 974 0259

If you wish to receive more information on how to help, please write to
our e-mail: gfappm2 at yahoo.ca


The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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