Pedro Castillo Aragón, APPO Political Prisoner, begins hunger strike

Oaxaca, November 28, 2008

To the comrades of all organizations, collectives, and people of Oaxaca, Mexico, and the world, of the Other Campaign, of the national and international Human Rights organizations, the news media, APPO members, and APPO sympathizers in Mexico and the world:

After the operation, transfer and blows received by PEDRO CASTILLO ARAGÓN and VÍCTOR HUGO MARTINEZ TOLEDO, they were returned (at different times) to the Santa María Ixcotel Central Penitentiary in Oaxaca. PEDRO CASTILLO STARTED A HUNGER STRIKE ON NOVEMBER 27 AT 9:00 PM DEMANDING HIS FREEDOM AND THAT OF THE OTHER POLITICAL PRISONERS.

In view of yesterday’s events at the Santa María Ixcotel Central Penitentiary, where without any explanation whatsoever, PEDRO CASTILLO ARAGÓN and VÍCTOR HUGO MARTINEZ TOLEDO were taken away, we want to update the information and clear up the following things.

The two comrades were taken out of the penitentiary yesterday, November 27, 2008, in the morning during an operation that began at 7:30 in the morning and ended at approximately 1:00 in the afternoon. Víctor Hugo Martínez Toledo was beaten and returned a few hours later to the penitentiary. Pedro Castillo Aragón, however, was disappeared for several hours, beaten more violently, and later (apparently late last night), presented at the Miahuatlan prison in Oaxaca. Today, Friday, November 28, our comrade Pedro Castillo Aragón was returned to the Santa María Ixcotel Central Penitentiary. At the present time, both comrades are at Ixcotel.

Yesterday, two mobilizations occurred to demand certain guarantees for our comrades. After the uncertainty generated by the operation that affected family members of the political prisoners and other prisoners, an assembly was held by family, friends, and APPO participants in which two actions were agreed upon. The first was a march last night from the Section 22 building to the Federal Courthouse and a blockade of Avenida Juárez where a press conference and rally were held for the freedom and presentation of our comrades. Today, at 9 o’clock in the morning another blockade was set up outside the Federal Courthouse. At this time there was harassment by PFP agents who tried to cross the blockade in their truck, but they were obliged to respect the demonstration. These events have only led to the mobilization of those of us who demand justice and freedom for the peoples of Oaxaca and an end to the criminalization of social protest.

It is important to point out that in view of these actions, Pedro Castillo Aragón began a hunger strike yesterday, November 27 at 9 o’clock last night to demand his freedom and that of Víctor Martínez Toledo and Miguel Ángel García, APPO political prisoners since November 3, 2006, and also the freedom of the political prisoners of San Agustín Loxicha, Santiago Xanica, and San Pedro Yosotatu.

Nevertheless, we know that the State’s repressive actions are politically motivated in line with the interests of the despotic government of Ulises Ruiz and the complicity of the federal government. These people intend to demoralize our prisoner comrades and subject them to even greater repression than that brought against Victor Hugo for the two years and against Pedro Castillo Aragón for almost six years that they have been unjustly held prisoners. In this way, the authorities seek to keep their repressive message up to date against the people of Oaxaca and its political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.

Due to the magnitude of the operation, the events, and the current repressive circumstances both inside and outside the Penitentiary, we fear for the physical and emotional integrity and safety of our comrades held political prisoners.

We are outraged over this operation that has violated the basic rights of our comrades and jeopardized their safety and well-being by moving them from one place to another as if they were criminals.

We demand:

Guarantees inside the Penitentiary for the protection of the physical and moral integrity of our comrade prisoners!

Freedom for PEDRO CASTILLO ARAGÓN, VÍCTOR HUGO MARTÍNEZ TOLEDO and MIGUEL ÁNGEL GARCÍA!

Immediate, unconditional freedom for all the political prisoners of Oaxaca!

Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Freedom (VOCAL), Citizens Defense Committee (CODECI), Santa Maria Ixcotel Political Prisoners Committee

This post is also available in: Spanish