The final video by Movement for Justice in El Barrio about the political prisoners of San Sebastián Bachajón
What began as a struggle to free 10 political prisoners, then dropped to six, then five, then four... has finally concluded with all prisoners free. You can find earlier coverage here (1,2). This comes fresh on the heels of a major victory in court for Abahlali baseMjondolo, the South African Shackdwellers Movement, whose struggle we have supported (1,2,3,4) and who has also connected directly with Movement for Justice in El Barrio. Below is a recent article from La Jornada and further down is a message from Movement for Justice in El Barrio celebrating the freedom of all the prisoners of San Sebastián Bachajón!
They Free the Last 4 of the "Bachajón 5"
The campesinos remained prisoners more than five months in the prison of Playas de Catazajá, accused of the murder of an Agua Azul ejido member.
July 24, 2011
San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.
Translation: Chiapas Support Committee
The last four of the “Bachajón Five” were liberated this Saturday. The campesinos, adherents of the Other Campaign from San Sebastián Bachajón ejido (Chilón Municipality), who remained prisoners more than five months in the Playas de Catazajá prison, accused of the murder of an ejido member from Agua Azul (Tumbalá), and of alleged crimes related tp protests at the Agua Azul crossing in the first week in February. Although the serious charges turned out to be false, the indigenous men remained incarcerated as “hostages” of the government, according to what the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) has been maintaining.
Juan Aguilar Guzmán, Jerónimo Guzmán Méndez, Domingo García Gómez and Domingo Pérez Álvaro, who several times denounced mistreatment by authorities of the Social Re-adaptation Center for the Sentenced Number 17, are now in their community. On July 7, Mariano Demeza Silvano was released, a prisoner in the Villa Crisol (Berriozábal) re-adaptation centre for minors.
It’s appropriate to remember here that this persecution against the indigenous men happened within the context of a conflict in San Sebastián Bachajón over the ejido owners’ ticket booth at the access to the Agua Azul Cascades, an important tourist attraction in the state’s northern jungle. The ticket booth, installed by the ejido members, was attacked by members of the PRI and PVEM (Colosio Foundation), who “acted destroying and robbing whatever was in their way,” and they violently appropriated the spot for themselves at the beginning of February, with the backup of the Federal Army (Ejército) and the police who have remained stationed there ever since.
In those acts Marcos García Moreno, from the aggressor group, lost his life, and the Other Campaign members were blamed, “when it really was the ‘ideology’ of the Secretary General of the Government,” they said, upon denouncing the attack as a “product of the private meetings” between officials and officialist [pro-government] ejido owner.
The incarceration of the indigenous men originated dozens of protest actions at consulates and embassies of Mexico in Europe, the United States, South Africa, Australia and Argentina for several months, besides mobilizations in Chiapas and other parts of the country.
On the Chiapas Coast, Other Campaign protests were repressed and gave way to new incarcerations, although for just a few days.
Movement for Justice in the Barrio, of the Other Campaign in New York, which animated and diffused these solidarity protests and played a determining role in their organization, confirmed last night the liberation of the Tzeltal campesinos, and today Frayba, in charge of their legal defence, confirmed it.
The Bachajón 4 are Free!
[from Movement for Justice in El Barrio]
We rejoice in El Barrio, New York for the liberation of the 4 political prisoners of San Sebastián Bachajón.
Movement for Justice in El Barrio, The Other Campaign New York, would like to share with everyone the great news on the liberation of fighters for justice who endured unjust convictions imposed by the bad government of the repressive Governor of the PRD Juan Sabines and repressive PAN President Felipe Calderon for pure revenge, only because they resisted and defended their land and their autonomy as indigenous peoples.
They had to endure five months of an unjust imprisonment.
Their resistance and courage has been for Movement for Justice in El Barrio a inspiration and a powerful reason to keep fighting.
In El Barrio, New York, we celebrate because we know that this was not a triumph of the rule of law that does not exist in Mexico, rather one for the organizing and mobilizing of our brothers and sisters, ejidatarios of San Sebastian Bachajon and our comrades of good heart in Mexico and all over the world.
We embrace you too and celebrate you all.
With the spirit of "an injury to one is an injury to all," together we fought and accomplished the liberation of our brothers from San Sebastián Bachajón.
¡Viva las y los ejidatarios de San Sebastián Bachajón!
¡Viva el EZLN!
¡Viva La Otra Campaña!