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The prisons are full of people who have committed no crime, Alejandro Díaz Sántiz denounces

Tzotzil spends his 33rd birthday in jail, accused of murder by the true perpetrator 

Hermann Bellinghausen 
La Jornada, Friday October 25, 2013 

Alejandro Díaz Sántiz, “unjustly imprisoned”, as he claims repeatedly, reached the age of 33 years on Thursday. He has spent fifteen of them in prison. A member of Solidarity with the Voice of el Amate, and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle of the EZLN, he is currently “held prisoner” in the State Centre for the Social Reintegration of the Convicted (CERSS) number 5 in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. 

“The rulers do not care about justice; they are only worried about their own wellbeing, while the prisons are filling up with people who have committed no crimes, violating families without reason or motive.” 

He was sentenced to 30 years, accused of rape and murder by the true perpetrator of the crime, which occurred in Veracruz at the end of the last century. In fact, part of his struggle has been to get a transfer to a prison in his native Chiapas. He is Tzotzil, originating from Chalchihuitán, and as a very young man went to look for work outside the state. There he found betrayal and disgrace. 

“Today, I complete 33 years of the life that God has given me; the saddest part is not being able to celebrate with my family, instead of being happy and content I am just filled with anger at this unjust imprisonment.” He has served half his sentence, and in spite of his participation in the collective defence of the human rights of the prison population and against unjustified sentences like his own, he stands out for what in prison language is called “good conduct”. 

Along with his compañero Alberto Patishtán Gómez, he has participated in the protests, hunger strikes and actions through which dozens of Zapatista prisoners and adherents to the Sixth have achieved their release in recent years. 

He remembers that “during the second visit made by the Governor Manuel Velasco Coello, here in the prison, on July 4th, he pledged to seek the means or connections to the authorities in Veracruz to obtain my freedom, which so far has not happened; so once again I demand my immediate release,” he said. 

Now that Patishtán’s well-known struggle for freedom has entered a new “definitive” stage (there are already several), Alejandro Díaz has allowed his case to be reported, along with those of two other compañeros of the Sixth, ejidatarios of San Sebastián Bachajón, who he has not yet met: Antonio Estrada Estrada, a prisoner in the CERSS 17 in Playas de Catazajá, and Miguel Demeza Jiménez in CERSS 14, El Amate, in Cintalapa de Figueroa. Both are imprisoned for crimes for which they have been proved innocent, and both have been accused by the true perpetrators. 

This October 24th, he adds, “also marks 6 months since they murdered our compañero Juan Vázquez Guzmán for defending the ejido of San Sebastian Bachajón.” For that crime, the authorities have not yet presented any results, far less have they identified anyone as responsible, even though the main lines to follow are so obvious. 
Finally, Alejandro Díaz invites the people of Mexico “to join the call for justice and freedom for the political prisoner Alberto Patishtán, for, as we see, his right to justice has again been forgotten.” 

English translation by the Chiapas Support Committee for the: International Zapatista Translation Service, a collaboration of the Chiapas Support Committee, California, Wellington Zapatista Support Group, UK Zapatista Solidarity Network

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