Mexico: Raúl Hernández, preso de conciencia y defensor de los de los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas

RE: Raúl Hernández, preso de conciencia y defensor de los de los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas

To: Lic. Fernando Francisco Gómez Mont Urueta, Lic. Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo, Lic. David Augusto Sotelo Rosas

From: Lic. Cara E.I. Gibbons

Date: 2010-07-06

Dear Minister Gómez Mont Urueta, Attorney General Murueta Urrutia and Governor Torreblanca Galindo:

RE: Raúl Hernández, preso de conciencia y defensor de los de los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada writes further to its April 29, 2010 letter to you regarding the wrongful detention of Mexican indigenous human rights defender Raúl Hernández. LRWC is aware that the case against Raúl has been concluded and has been informed that the State Attorney General’s Office will soon be called upon to present its judgement in the case.

LRWC asks that the State Attorney General’s Office analyze this case in conformity with international human rights standards and according to the due process of law and other penal procedures recognized by Mexico in the international treaties it has ratified.

Raúl Hernández is a member of the Me’phaa Indigenous People’s Organisation (OPIM ) which promotes the human rights of the Me’phaa people in Guerrero, Mexico. Many members of OPIM and other indigenous human rights defenders in the area have been subjected to harassment, violence and intimidation as a result of their human rights activities. Raúl Hernández has been in detention since April 17, 2008 when he and four other OPIM members were arrested at a military checkpoint in Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero for a murder that was alleged to have taken place on January 1, 2008.

Upon review of the case in October 2008, a federal judge ordered the 4 other men released because of a complete lack of evidence against them. They were not immediately released, however, as the Federal Attorney General (who had previously not been involved in the case as it came under the State of Guerrerro’s criminal jurisdiction) inexplicably decided to appeal the case. They were unsuccessful and the men were finally released in March 2009.

On the May 26 2010, the Mixed Judge, Alfredo Sánchez Sánchez, of the Magistrates Court of Ayutla, carried out a visual inspection of the crime scene in the El Camalote community, in order to verify the testimony of the main witness, one Fidel Remigio Mendoza, who testified against the accused. This witness claimed that he had seen Raúl argue with Alejandro Feliciano García, who subsequently appeared dead close to the local church on the night of the December 31 2007. The Judge found that the distance to the church was 210 meters, and that the geographical barriers and the time in which the crime was committed meant that the witness could not have seen what he said he saw.

During the preliminary proceedings of the case various witnesses accusing the defendant contradicted each other’s statements whilst other, non-accusing witnesses were strikingly clear when referring to the whereabouts of Raúl Hernández during the time that the crime took place.

LRWC respectfully urges your government to act in accordance with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international and regional pacts and covenants ratified by Mexico, and to ensure the implementation of the Declaration of Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 8, 1998, in particular article 1 which provides that “every person has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental liberties at the national and international levels.”

LRWC therefore calls on the State Attorney General’s Office of Guerrero to immediately recommend that the judicial case for murder against Raúl Hernández be dropped and that Mexican authorities undergo a thorough and impartial investigation into the misuse of the justice system in its wrongful imprisonment of Raúl Hernández.


Lic. Cara E.I. Gibbons

Miembro de LRWC