Gustavo Jiménez Pérez, male, member of the Civic Alliance-Chiapas was severely beaten on November 20th, 2005, by six men who forced their way into his house and threatened to kill him.
Perez and his housemate, Luis Gabriel Ramírez Cuevas, (also male), have recently been involved in exposing alleged official corruption in the distribution of humanitarian relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Stan, which struck Southern Mexico in October. Both men are members of a grassroots organization promoting social activism called Alianza Cívica-Chiapas (Civic Alliance-Chiapas). Amnesty International believes this may be the reason for the attack, and fears that both men are in danger.
According to Gustavo’s testimony, at around 9.30pm on November 20th, 2005 he heard someone knocking at his front door. When he went to answer it, six men carrying knives stormed into the house, pushing him violently. They cut his face and neck, and kicked him in the head. While they were beating him they told him, “We have come to kill you”. As he lay on the floor he overheard one of them saying, “let’s go, he is already dead”. They left the house, taking the TV, the VCR and a backpack containing valuables including an identification card and a bank card.
At around 10pm, on the same night, Luis Gabriel Ramírez Cuevas returned home to find Gustavo Jiménez almost unconscious. It is not clear whether the six men intended to attack Gustavo Jiménez or Gabriel Ramírez, since both have been working to expose alleged corruption.
At approx. 2:30pm on November 22nd, 2005, Gustavo Jiménez and Gabriel Ramírez Cuevas were returning to their house from a press conference organized to condemn the November 20th, 2005, attack. They were accompanied by a lawyer from a local human rights organization, the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, when they saw a man inside their house. Fearing their own danger, they left. The intruder ran away from the house, but not before having searched the place thoroughly, yet had taken nothing.
Gustavo Jiménez and Gabriel Ramírez have now filed a complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office (Fiscalía General de Justicia del Estado).
In October 2005 Enrique Zamora, director of the newspaper El Orbe in Tlapachula, Chiapas, was detained overnight by police and interrogated under harsh libel legislation, which came into effect in May 2004. His newspaper had repeatedly reported allegations of official corruption in the response to Hurricane Stan.
Letter by Monique Pongracic-Speier sent on December 1, 2005