Jesús Manuel Grijalva Mejia, Mayen Arellanes Cano – Lawyers

Reports indicate that two lawyers working on behalf of protesters arrested in Oaxaca state, Jesús Manuel Grijalva and Mayen Arellanes, have been threatened over the past few weeks, apparently in reprisal for their human rights work with the Comité de Liberación 25 de Noviembre (Committee for the Liberation of Detainees of 25 November). It is believed that their lives are in danger.

The Comité de Liberación 25 de Noviembre was established in the aftermath of the clashes between protesters and police on 25 November 2006, which resulted in the detention of 149 people, many of whom were not involved in the protests or violence. Most of those arrested on 25 November have been released on bail facing criminal charges. Only eight people are still in custody, on charges related to recent social protests in Oaxaca. The members of the Comité provide legal assistance to and campaign on behalf of all those arrested during the Oaxaca political crisis.

On 14 June, Jesús Manuel Grijalva received a death threat on his mobile phone. According to Jesús Manuel Grijalva, this is the same voice that had threatened him on four consecutive days at the beginning of April.

On 14 April, as he was checking facts at the crime scene where José Jiménez Colmenares was killed against documents from the judicial case file, he was reportedly approached by eight men travelling in a black van without number plates. The men were wearing black uniforms but no insignia to identify them as members of any specific police force. One of them asked questions about the file Jesús Manuel Grijalva was carrying, but the men left soon after communicating their position over the radio and as soon as a group of passers-by started to gather around the area.

On 28 May, his colleague Mayen Arellanes was verbally abused by a group of young men outside Oaxaca University. She had never seen them before, but they appeared to know who she was as they referred to her activities in the Comité. On the same day, she was also verbally attacked as she was walking near her home by men driving in a car without number plates. She has also previously reported that her home had been watched by men inside a car with tinted windows.


Letter by Monique Pongracic-Speier sent on June 22, 2007.