Fernando Camacho Servín
La Jornada, 201th June, 2013
The case of Alberto Patishtán, the indigenous teacher sentenced to sixty years in prison, is entering a decisive phase. In the coming weeks, a federal appeals court based in Chiapas will appoint the judge in charge of analysing his sentence, which could lead to his release in the short-term, stated members of civic organizations.
At a political-cultural event held yesterday in front of the Palace of Bellas Artes [Fine Arts] in Mexico City to mark the 13th anniversary of his incarceration, the Tzotzil activist affirmed by telephone link from prison in San Cristóbal, that these years of unjust imprisonment have served as an education, and he asked the First Circuit Court to discuss his case "with the heart".
The teacher's son, Héctor Patishtán, agreed that his father's case is entering a decisive stage, even though in March of this year the Supreme Court refused to accept it on grounds that it was "not a priority" matter.
Meanwhile, the indigenous prisoner's lawyer, Sandino Rivero, emphasized that we are weeks from this being defined. In July or August, it is expected that the judge will be named to preside over the appeal, and he will have ten days either to ratify the 60-year prison sentence or order Patishtán's release.
Pablo González Casanova, former rector of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), emphasized that, in his opinion, the country is undergoing a grave moral crisis, as confirmed by the embarrassing fact that the activist was imprisoned on false evidence for a crime he did not commit.
"It is despicable that a man who represents many indigenous peoples who have been attacked since the Conquest, that this man might be incarcerated. So I ask the judges to act with awareness for freedom," declared González Casanova.
Among other personages, the ceremony was attended by the Secretary General of the Electricians Union, Martín Esparza; the leader of the People's Front in Defense of the Land, Trinidad Ramírez; actress Julieta Egurrola, and the poet and writer Mardonio Carballo.
Translation by Jane Brundage