Por Emir Olivares Alsonso
More than seventy social organizations demanded the immediate release of the Tzotzil teacher Alberto Patishtán Gómez, who “was unjustly accused of the murder of seven state and municipal police in 2000, after investigations and trials full of irregularities.” He was then sentenced to sixty years in prison.
The groups making up the National Network of Civil Human Rights organizations All Rights for All demanded that the authorities conduct investigations that prove the innocence of the teacher (adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle) and to identify and punish those truly responsible for the crimes of which he is accused ….
They celebrated the release, on July 4, of nine prisoners–Patishtán’s comrades–who are adherents to the Sixth, after waiting three days for the state government’s decision to be carried out.
“The nine people released, part of Solidarity with the Voice of el Amate, had been unjustly imprisoned. After a long process in the search for justice and struggle against impunity, we celebrate their release while we also express our concern about the lack of news about the possible release of Alberto Patishtán,” declared the network’s seventy-three groups in a statement.
They emphasized the innocence of the Tzotzil teacher, locked up for thirteen years, given that the evidence against him “is false”, and they presented the evidence gathered by his legal defence. “Mr. Patishtán is innocent and should be released immediately. It is important to note that the governor of the state of Chiapas (Manuel Velasco Coello) has stated that the release (of the indigenous man) represents ‘an act of justice’.”
The organizations indicated that they have kept an eye on the information about the situation of Patishtán, and that “his life experience and struggle is part of our campaign We Defend the Hope, which tells the story of this human rights defender and the organization that has accompanied him in the pursuit of justice, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center” [San Cristóbol de las Casas, Chiapas].
Therefore, they demanded that the authorities “perform all necessary actions to ensure the prompt release of Alberto Patishtán and to conduct an investigative process that proves his innocence and, moreover, to identify the perpetrators of the crimes for which Mr. Patishtán continues to be imprisoned.”