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ACTION: Mexican Human Rights Defender Arrested (UA 62/12)

Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez is a human rights defender who defends the rights of Indigenous people. She has previously been threatened with death and assaulted and this week she has been arrested and detained.


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Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez (f)

Mexican human rights defender Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez was arrested on 22 February. The information available suggests that she is the target of unfounded criminal charges and detention in reprisal for defending the rights of Indigenous people.

On 22 February agents from the Federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República) arrested Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez in the municipality of Santa María Xadani, in Oaxaca State, as she left a meeting with the Federal Electricity Commission accompanied by a human rights lawyer Maribel González Pedro. The agents did not show a warrant authorising her arrest or explain the reasons for her detention or where she was being taken to.

She was held incommunicado for four hours before being taken to Tehuantepec prison to face charges of illegally detaining staff of the Federal Electricity Commission. She is due to be brought before a judge today, who has the authority to release her on bail. Amnesty International is concerned that the charges have been fabricated to prevent her from carrying out her work as a human rights defender and that she may be denied a fair judicial process. Her arrest forms part of a pattern of arrests of human rights defenders on unfounded charges of illegal detention of public officials which have resulted in unfair criminal proceedings and long periods in prison for the activists.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Spanish or your own language:
* Call on the authorities to ensure that Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez will not be subject to torture or other ill-treatment, and to ensure she has access to the lawyer of her choice and her family;
* Urge them to ensure judicial proceedings have not been brought on the basis of unsupported or unreliable evidence in reprisal for Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez’s legitimate human rights work and that her right to a fair trial is guaranteed in accordance with international fair trial standards, including the right to bail related to these charges;
* Urge them to ensure the safety of all members or Assembly of Indigenous Peoples of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Defence of Land and Territory and that they are not subject to unfounded judicial persecution.


PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 5 APRIL 2012 TO:  (Time difference = GMT - 6 hrs / BST - 7 hrs)


Attorney General of the Republic
Marisela Morales Ibáñez
Paseo de la reforma 211-213
Col. Cuauhtémoc, México D.F., C.P. 06500, México
Fax: 0052 55 5346 0908 (keep trying and ask for "fax")
Salutation: Dear Attorney General

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GOOD NEWS! Mexican Human Rights Defender Released

On 24 February, at around 00:30, Mexican Human Rights Defender Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez was released on bail. Check Blog to see the update.

Urgent Action Volunteer 12 years ago