The Voice of the Xiche Zapotecos in Prison: 19 Years of Imprisonment of Álvaro Sebastián Ramírez
To the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
To the National Indigenous Congress
To the Red Contra Repression and for Solidarity
To the Sixth in Mexico and the World
Today marks 19 years since our compañero Álvaro Sebastián Ramírez was detained/ disappeared for his alleged participation in an attack on police and military facilities on August 29, 1996, in the municipality of Santa María Huatulco.
On December 15th, 1997, a special group of the State Judicial Police, lead by Commander José Trinidad Rodríguez Ballesteros; and Pedro Roberto Martínez Ortíz as General Prosecutor of the State, took Álvaro into custody. With high-powered weapons pointed at his head, they forced Álvaro to step out of his car. Using beatings and threats, he was forced to get into another vehicle where they covered his head with a jacket.
He was taken to a house, with his hands and feet tied, and his eyes covered the whole time. They forced him to take pills dissolved in water that caused hallucinations. He received electric shocks in various parts of his body, principally his testicles. He was kicked and punched in his ears, stomach, lungs, face, arms and legs. They repeatedly applied mineral water with chili to his nose that made him lose his senses each time that he received the “dose.”
After eleven days of torture, on December 26, 1997, he was presented before the Attorney General of the State then translated to the regional prison of the villa de Etla, Oaxaca.
It is evident that the detention of our compañero was arbitrary. They detained him without showing an arrest warrant. He was subjected to physical and psychological torture. The testimonies that served as the basis of the Mexican Government’s accusations and subsequent sentencing were also obtained by means of torture.
It has been legally demonstrated that he was detained, accused, tried and sentenced for an action that isn’t now, nor wasn’t then a crime, proving conduct that is not criminal may be judged as criminal.
What is the reason for keeping him in prison? For discrimination and contempt. He meets the characteristics that are grounds for discrimination in Mexico. For example, for him being Indigenous, being a political dissident, being someone in the struggle for autonomy of the Indigenous peoples, or for having been considered a member of a rebel group.
How is it possible for a person to be accused of crimes like aggravated assault, kidnapping, car theft, robbery, property damage, stockpiling weapons, terrorism, conspiracy and criminal association, when the accusations lacked any substance?
Álvaro was accused of those nine crimes and for 16 years he has demonstrated that he did not commit them. Still they have kept him in prison accused of the crime of first-degree murder and attempted murder—accusations that in the specific context do not constitute a crime. Thus, if there are reasons to keep him in jail, these reasons remain outside of the law.
The contradictions in the judicial process, the illegality with which the Mexican government has operated, and the systemic violations of his constitutional guarantees demonstrate to us that Álvaro is a prisoner for political reasons. He is a prisoner for having political ideas contrary to the regime. That is to say, he is a prisoner of struggle. The case of our compañero reveals that the official discourse that we live in a “state of rights” is a lie. The prisons of this country are full of political prisoners, and the repression against organized Indigenous people is constantly growing stronger.
The Mexican state intends at all costs to keep our compañero in prison as a living example of what can happen to anyone that decides to organize and struggle for his or her people.
In spite of the torture and confinement, our compañero remains firm in his commitment to constructing a better world as the only option for surviving the extermination that is annihilating our people.
From the prison Álvaro has not stopped his struggle. He has signed the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle, is a member of the Red Contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad and is a formal part of the National Indigenous Congress.
The history of repression in the Loxicha region has resulted in hundreds of disappearances, assassinations and prisoners. Of the more than one hundred incarcerated since 1996, four still remain imprisoned: Zacarías Pascual García López, Justino Hernández José, Abraham García Ramírez and Álvaro Sebastián Ramírez. This is proof that in Oaxaca and in México, democracy, liberty and justice do not exist.
We Demand the Immediate and Unconditional Freedom of the Prisoners of Loxicha!
La Voz de los Zapotecos Ziches en Prisión
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, December 15th, 2016
Translated from the original here: http://redcontralarepresion.org/articulo.php?i=1453