Statement For Our Compañero Santiago Moreno Pérez of San Sebastián Bachajón

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By: Working Group No Estamos Todxs

To the Adherents of the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón
To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the Councils of Good Government
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the Sixth
To the free, independent and alternative media
To those that struggle from below and to the left

As the working group No Estamos Todxs, we raise the voice for our compañero in struggle, 55-year-old Santiago Moreno Pérez. Santiago is an Indigenous Tzeltal, prisoner in the CERESO No 17 of Playas de Catazajá. He is originally from the community of La Pimienta, in the municipality of Chilón. Santiago is a member of the organization of the Ejido de San Sebastián Bachajón. He is an adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle of the EZLN, for which he has remained behind prison walls for more than eight years due to the corrupt and rotten Mexican system of justice.

Detained in February of 2009, our compañero Santiago held a position in the organization of the autonomous council of security. He spent more than ten years working with the organization in resistance, defending the earth and territory of the ejido against megaprojects the bad governments wants to impose in the region. The night the events took place, him and his son were singled out and accused as responsible for the death of a person from La Pimienta by a group of people affiliated with the PRI. The PRI members of the community gathered to lynch them, but he escaped death by turning himself into jail and giving up all his property.

The last few months have been especially hard for our compañero Santiago. Last December we sadly received the news of the death of his wife. This situation was in itself extremely difficult for the imprisoned compañero, but more so in that he was not able to say goodbye nor hug his family during those tough times. He was denied the process of mourning. We are furthermore concerned about the forced orphanage that the prison society has imposed on his children, distancing them from him in a manner completely unjust and arbitrary. They too have pending orders of arrest for the same crime that they have sentenced their father.

We know that prison is not only punishment for those behind bars, but punishment for families, friends, and the compañerxs of the organization as well. Due to this, Santiago solicited a transfer to the prison of Ocosingo so that his compañera could visit him without much economic strain. The transfer was authorized, but was never carried out by the penitentiary institution. It was in this context that they had their last conversation.

On the other hand, imprisonment, as well as the personal and family situation, is affecting the physical and psychological health of our compañero Santiago. Behind the walls, they deny the prisoners attention as well as access to physical and mental health. In spite of the barriers and forms of control he is suffering, support is reaching him in this manner.

The judicial process of our compañero Santiago is full of irregularities. Since he was given his sentence and the appeal in 2009, rulings have followed from the trial judge of the Criminal Branch of the Judicial District of Catazajá sentencing formal prison. For each decision against the freedom of our compañero, the corresponding appeal has demanded the resumption of a fair trial.

One of the most serious irregularities Santiago has experienced during the beginning of his judicial process was that he was granted a translator that had family ties with the plaintiffs that accused him as responsible for the crime. The prisons of Chiapas are full of Indigenous and poor people, who for not speaking Spanish, and not having money to pay for a good lawyer, have not received due process and have been forced through torture and deception to sign self-incriminating declarations. The case of Santiago is one more of those, with the accompanying factor that there exists clear political motives to incarcerate him.

On March 3, 2017, at 10 am in the courthouse of Playas de Catazajá, the interrogation of Melchorio Pérez Gómez will continue. Gómez served as translator in the judicial process against our compañero Santiago Moreno Pérez.

We thus call on everyone from their trenches to be alert, to be ready with support for our compañero Santiago Moreno Pérez who is unjustly imprisoned in CERESO No. 17 of Playas de Catazajá. We call on you to defend a dignified life in rebellion seeking the autonomy of his town, and for struggling toward a future for everyone.

Repression, death, punishment and the walls of imprisonment, once again, serve as tools to break the social ties of a community that resists giving up their land, and with their land their forms of life, to an elite tourist project that is destined to be enjoyed by only the few.

Nor do we let ourselves be deceived, nor do we deceive them. The crime of our compañero was, and is, to defend life against those that destroy, in order to construct trains, luxury hotels, and golf courses on the earth that is the fountain of life, of food, and of the history of the people. A crime that currently three compañeros of Bachajón (Santiago Moreno Pérez, Emilio Jiminez Gómez, and Esteban Gómez Jimenez) are imprisoned and two other compañeros (Juan Vázquez Guzmán and Juan Carlos Gómez Silvano) have been killed.

With him, with the others, and with many more we share the dignified rage that covers us all. The same struggle, the commitment that unites us as compañerxs, the injustice that we face, the rejection of the penitentiary systems as a form of control, of racial segregation, of atomization, of the destruction of social and family ties, of death.

Our compañero Santiago Moreno Pérez is not alone, here we continue with him.
Our imprisoned compañeros of Bachajón are not alone, here we continue with them.
Down with the walls of every prison!

March 1, 2017 San Cristobal de las Casas

Translated from the original here: http://www.cgtchiapas.org/noticias/pronunciamiento-por-nuestro-companero-santiago-moreno-perez-san-sebastian-bachajon

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