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Alberto Patishtán Awaits Result of Final Appeal for Release from Prison

If he is not successful, there only remains the Inter-American Court of Justice, or the political route, which means accepting guilt
Emir Olivares Alonso, La Jornada, 20th August 2013

The last legal resort for declaring the innocence of the Tzotzil teacher Alberto Patishtán could be resolved in a couple of weeks, when a federal appeals court decides the exceptional case introduced by his defence team. Based on national and inter-American jurisprudence, [the defence team] requested that the law be applied retroactively to the case, because the conviction involved violations of due process.
This was reported by Sandino Rivero, a member of the teacher's legal defence team. Patishtán has been imprisoned for thirteen of the sixty years to which he was sentenced for the murder of several policemen in Chiapas.
The lawyer stated that on Tuesday [August 20], Patishtán will start to hold a daily twelve-hour fast (from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM) until the First Appellate Court seated in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, reaches its decision, which is expected to be between 29th August and 5th September.
Rivero stressed that there are sufficient grounds "for recognizing the innocence" of Patishtán, although the Appellate Court will have the final word. If the decision is not favourable, "there would be nothing left to do legally at the national level. The next step would be to take the case to the Inter-American system. Although there is also the political solution through a pardon, which would mean accepting his guilt, the decision (to accept the pardon, or not) is entirely a matter for the teacher and his family".
The defence arguments are based on case law which appeared after Patishtán's case was reviewed (2003), and support the invalidity of four of the six pieces of evidence by which he was sentenced, which "were obtained through fundamental rights violations".
Another reason is that the new law of amparo [legal protection] provides for the law to be applied retroactively when it benefits people. Additionally, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ruled on the legal concept of fraudulent judgment, i.e., when a case is closed it may be reopened because violations of due process occurred, or owing to the bias of the judges.
This Wednesday, August 21st, a day of "Global Action" will be held, convoked by Patishtán himself. In Mexico City, it will include a mobilisation from the Parque Hundido [Sunken Park] to the Council of the Federal Judiciary.
based on a translation by Jane Brundage

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