Press Release #4
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Mexico City, June 1st, 2006
Press release no. 4 of the International Civil Commission for Human Rights Observation in Mexico
In our third day of work, the International Civil Commission for Human Rights Observation in Mexico once again went to the town of San Salvador Atenco to recollect more interviews and testimonies of those affected by the violent events in the dawn of the 4th of May.
Youth, men, women, elder people were recieved in the office of the CCIODH in the ejidal building, showing a strong will of teh people of Atenco to condemn the events and violations they have suffered.
In their words was the fear of those who were not detained and stayed in a ghost town. We have heard testimonies that talked about the damage to the social network of an organized people in struggle. Some people have indicated this to be a central objective of the operation. Others continue not understanding what happening.
Other participants in the Commission went to the sit-in where families of the prisoners, members of social organizations, together with adherents to the Other Campaign, have been carrying out in front of the jail Santiaguito.
Of the different testimonies that we could recollect, information stood out about the conditions of the prisoners that are still in a hunger strike that they have been maintaining for more than 3 weeks. As a way to continue the harrasment against the prisoners, according to their testimonies, the jail is not letting them recieve the sugar, fruit, and candies that the sit-in is sending to them as a form of support. The doctor Guillermo Selvas who has lost 11 kilos (around 24lbs.), shows that the conditions of the people on hunger strike are getting worse everyday, as they have neither medical nor psychological assitance as they continue to be firm in their goal to continue the hunger strike until justice is done.
From various people we have recieved testimonies of the posible disappearances of people thrown out of the police vans. This information we will compare and contrast in the rest of these days with more testimonies.
Yesterday afternoon Angel Benhumea and Jolanda Hernandez, the parents of Alexis Benhumea came to our office. Alexis is the economics student from the UNAM who is in a coma with brain death in the hospital "Lopez Mateos" in Mexico City. His parents believe that the police operation was brutal and exaggerated as they were in a peaceful protest: "My son is debating between life and death- his father said- and I blame the Mexican Government for this whole operation." His mother underlines that "the whole family is indignant, hurt by this suffering and hopefully it will be of use so that nothing simillar to this happens to other families just because they express themselves and defend their rights as human beings." They directly shot her son, they added, and later had to hide for 11 hours with their injured son watching how he entered into a state of a coma without medical assitance as a result of the police denying the entrance of any ambulance.
In our fourth day of work, this morning different participants of the CCIODH will interview the National Commission of Human Rights while others will go to the prison La Palma with the goal of attending the first public hearing of the three detainees in this maximum security jail. This delegation went to Texcoco to interview the mayor and the police who apparently were "beat up and held in the afternoon of the 3 of May."
We continue to organize the institutional interviews with more difficulty than expected. A week before the Commission left for Mexico we handed in the offical request. When we began our activites on the 29th, 2 members of the Commission dedicated all their time to formalize contacts. To this day we have very few despite the effort. We lament that the ones we have are far less than the ones we requested and that the level of responsability of the officiales is far lower than we expected.
International Civil Commission for Human Rights Observation, Mexico
Address: Fray Servando Teresa de Mier 92, second floor (in the Autonomous University of Mexico City)
May 29th June 4th (9AM-9PM)
Telephone (0052) 55785563