Gloria Arenas visited the Otro Plantón at Molino de Flores and voiced her commitment to speak in all possible places for the freedom of the 12 political prisoners of Atenco now that the case is in the hands of the Supreme Court. She and others present also participated in an act of protest outside the prison, denouncing prison conditions such as a lack of water for more than three days, telephones that haven’t worked for more than three days, and the total lack of attention to dormitory classification. People who are not senior citizens or disabled or mentally ill are placed in areas reserved for them, resulting in violence among the prisoners and worse conditions for those who have a special condition.
Gloria also received a phone call from Inés Rodolfo Cuellar who has become the spokesperson for the imprisoned comrades. Several other individual prisoners sent out letters to Gloria and Jacobo, which Gloria gladly promised to answer.
FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!
STOP THE ATTACKS ON THE ZAPATISTA COMMUNITIES!
NO MORE DISPOSSESSION!
THE OTHER CAMPAIGN GOES ON!
During her visit to the Molino de Flores Otro Plantón, Gloria Arenas Agis read the following statement:
ATENCO PRISONERS MUST BE FREED
My name is Gloria Arenas Agis, former political prisoner. I’m here today at the gates of Molino de Flores to demand freedom for the political prisoners in this prison and those in the Altiplano prison.
The federal Supreme Court has decided to hear the petition for a protective order in the case of the 12 Atenco political prisoners. Right now, the highest court in the land has the opportunity to correct the tremendous outrage of their imprisonment. It has the opportunity to resolve a conflict in which the dependence of the State of Mexico’s judicial bodies on the Chief Executive has been clearly shown.
It is both politically and legally untenable to keep these 12 prisoners behind bars. Their imprisonment only shows that vengeance rules in this case and that the judges have followed orders from above. The illegality of the prisoners’ arrest and imprisonment is so obvious that people all over the world have demanded their freedom ever since 2006. Last year, members of the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) traveled to 12 different states in the country and were received in a show of solidarity by social organizations that organized 100 public events and actions to demand freedom for these 12 prisoners. Several days ago, 11 Nobel Prize winners met with the Secretary of the Interior to deliver a letter to Calderón seeking freedom for the Atenco prisoners; they also met with a magistrate and with several legislators.
Nobel Prize winner Jody Williams said, “What they’re doing to the Atenco political prisoners disgusts me. I mean they’re doing this because it’s a political issue.” In effect, that’s the way the imprisonment of the three prisoners in the maximum security Altiplano prison and of the nine prisoners at Molino de Flores is seen in Mexico and the world –as a filthy, rotten business, a foul display of illegality that has nothing to do with justice or with the state of law. It’s an act of vengeance against the FPDT, which succeeded in avoiding the expropriation of their lands where an airport was to be built. It’s a message sent to teach an insubordinate people a lesson for defending their lands and rights, for standing in solidarity with other struggles, and for telling others about their experience. The imprisonment of the Atenco prisoners is a message sent to keep their example of organization and resistance from being followed by other peoples throughout the country who are now being dispossessed. The imprisonment of the 12 political prisoners of Atenco is also a security message to world capital that says: “Capital can strip peoples of their lands, pollute and loot the natural resources of the country, and the Mexican state will take care of jailing and punishing resistance at all costs to make sure this example will not be followed by others.”
The imprisonment of the Atenco political prisoners is an attempt against freedom of expression and organization that exposes the authoritarianism of the federal, state, and local governments. The Atenco case is political and not legal because the state Governor is campaigning for the Presidency of Mexico in the 2012 elections and wants to send out a forceful message even though it’s based on a chain of illegal acts.
The political nature of the case cannot be hidden from people in this country and the world, and neither can the illegality of the trials and sentences of the three FPDT members and the nine growers found near the scene of the repressive attack against the people of Atenco. In its zeal to lock them up, the government at all three levels has expressly resorted to crimes of repression in the name of defending a non-existent state of law.
Several decades ago, the crime of “social dissolution” was invented, and it was necessary to repeal the statute in order to free political prisoners. Today the measures that criminalize people’s struggles have to do with “organized crime,” “aggravated kidnapping,” and “damage to public thoroughfares,” and these are applied respectively to social organizations, to the retention of functionaries, and to roadblocks, all of which are characteristic expressions of social movements. Putting manifestations of discontent and dissidence on the same level as totally unrelated common crimes is typical of dictatorships. And these are precisely the charges leveled against the Atenco prisoners.
The organized crime charge has been dropped, but the prisoners were tried, found guilty, and sentenced for aggravated kidnapping and for damage to a public thoroughfare. They’ve been unjustly imprisoned for four years. The prison terms of 112 for some and 31 years for others are an abomination that seriously harms the entire country.
The federal Supreme Court’s verdict must be favorable because the social struggle is not a crime. But converting social activists into criminals is, in fact, illegal; it’s a crime. Furthermore, there’s no evidence whatsoever of the participation of the Molino de Flores prisoners in the events, so, according to law, there are no grounds for a guilty verdict. Legally, there is no proof of the responsibility of those charged; accordingly, they must be found innocent of the crimes for which they were tried. The verdict must be favorable because the case of the 12 prisoners is plagued with government misconduct and arbitrary actions beginning with the arrest and continuing throughout the entire judicial process; thus the sentences are illegal.
But the imprisonment of these 12 political prisoners is not the only legal travesty in this case that has damaged the country as a whole; there is also the impunity for the rapists of at least 26 women, the torturers of the 207 people arrested, and the murder of a child and a youth on May 3 and 4, 2006, in Atenco. Authorities at all levels are the intellectual authors and the perpetrators of these crimes, and this matter falls into the public domain. Impunity for these authorities clearly shows the political nature of this case and shows the rotten illegality now impossible to cover up with lies in the news media.
IMMEDIATE FREEDOM FOR THE 12 POLITICAL PRISONERS OF ATENCO!
February 26, 2010
For more details and photos of Gloria Arena Agis’s visit at the Otro Plantón at Molino de Flores, see http://penaldebraye.blogspot.com
This post is also available in: Spanish