Sierra Club and Amnesty International Call for the Immediate Release of Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera

Activists from Amnesty International and the Sierra Club to lead demonstration in front of the Denver Mexican Consulate to call for the release of two Mexican anti‑logging environmentalists.  On May 2nd, 1999, members of the Mexican army's 40th Infantry Battalion arrested Rodolfo Montiel Flores and Teodoro Cabrera Garcia in Pizotla, Guerrero. Rodolfo and Teodoro were allegedly beaten and tortured by the soldiers until they confessed to trumped up charges of drug trafficking and illegal possession of weapons.

Both men are members of the Campesino Ecologists of the Sierra de Petatlan and Coyuca de Catalan, an environmental group that has been fighting widespread and possibly illegal logging in the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Since May 2, 1999, environmentalists Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera have remained in detention. During this time, they were reportedly beaten and tortured until they confessed to trump‑up charges of weapons possession and drug-trafficking.  Their only "crime," however, was to peacefully organize and protest against the excessive logging in the Sierra de Petatlan. Teodoro remains in poor health, most likely as a consequence of the beatings he reportedly suffered.

Rodolfo and Teodoro, who are being defended by the Human Rights Center Agustin Pro Juarez (PRODH), face an imminent trial, which could start the first week of April. Digna Ochoa y Placido, director of the PRODH's legal team, has been repeatedly harassed including being abducted and receiving death threats possibly because of her work on this case. DEMANDS:

(1)     We demand that both men be released immediately.

(2)     We demand that the torture allegations be investigated immediately and that those responsible be brought to justice.  Any confessions extracted under torture should not be submitted during the trial.

(3)     We ask that both men be granted necessary and adequate medical attention.

(4)     We call on the Mexican government to adopt the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights' recommendations to combat torture and end impunity. The government should adhere to its commitment to the resolution on Human Rights Defenders in the Americas adopted by the Organization of American States.

(5)     We urge the government of Mexico to investigate the allegations of illegal logging taking place in the Sierra dePetatlan and Coyuca de Catalan.

The actions of the soldiers are part of a pattern of human rights abuses in Guerrero. In June 1995, state judicial police massacred 17 unarmed peasants near the village of Aguas Blancas. More recently, Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action on March 20, 2000, expressing fear for the safety of another member of Rodolfo's organization, Maximino  Marcial Jaimes.  On March 13, 2000, individuals linked to 'paramilitary groups' or 'armed civilians' with ties to wealthy local landowners reportedly abducted Maximino, who has not been heard from since.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: For copies of the latest Amnesty Int'l Urgent Actions on Rodolfo, Teodoro, and Maximino; AI's latest country report on Mexico; the AI/Sierra Club report: "Environmentalists Under Fire: 10 Urgent Cases of Human Rights Abuses"; the AI/SC campaign video on defending environmental defenders; or for more info on the demonstration at the Mexican consulate, contact Natasha at Amnesty International of Colorado, (720) 406-0360 or nnummedal@earthlink.net (Sam Parry:sam.parry@sfsierra.sierraclub.org)

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Sierra Club and Amnesty International Call for the Immediate Release of Rodolfo Montiel and TeoDoro Cabrera

 

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