Mexico: Faxes could hold the key to release of prisoner of conscience

The future of a long-standing prisoner of conscience is expected to be decided in the next few days – and Amnesty International believes the humble fax could hold the key to his release.

Mexican indigenous human rights defender Raúl Hernández has been held by the Guerrero state authorities since April 2008 for the murder of Alejandro Feliciano García, a crime Amnesty International is adamant he did not commit.

Early last week, the judge presiding over the case closed the evidence submission stage of the trial. During that enquiry the sole evidence against Raúl – eyewitness statements – were proved to be unreliable.

Raúl Hernández’s future now rests with the State Attorney General’s Office. The judge will ask the Attorney General’s Office in the next few days for its conclusions on the case. This gives the Attorney General, David Augusto Sotelo Rosas, the opportunity to recommend that the judicial case against Raúl Hernández is dropped for lack of evidence.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said:

“Amnesty International is calling on all its supporters to send a fax to the State Attorney General as a matter of great urgency.

“This is the key moment in the case. We have always believed that the case against him is spurious and was brought in reprisal for his legitimate activities promoting the rights of the community and exposing abuses by local authorities.

“He should never have been detained in the first place and the sheer numbers of emails could make a difference.”

An example of the type of message to send to the Attorney General of Guerrero can be found on the page www.amnesty.org.uk/opim. Completed faxes should then be sent to
0052 (747) 494 29 81.

Background:
Raúl Hernández is a member of the Me'phaa Indigenous People's Organisation (OPIM) which defends and promotes the rights of the Me'phaa (Tlapanecas) people. OPIM members have been subjected to a campaign of harassment and intimidation: they have been attacked and threatened on numerous occasions; many have been placed under surveillance; one of their leaders has been killed.

Amnesty International considers Raúl Hernández to be a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

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