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Media Attacks against Héctor and Antonio Cerezo

Desde El Universal Gráfico

Tuesday 26 September 2006, by Comité Cerezo México

...and the director of the newspaper El Universal Gráfico, Raymundo Riva Palacio, who has repeatedly tried to adversely influence public opinion with ill-fabricated lies. These always come from supposedly “reliable sources,” or in this case, “military sources,” supposedly “military intelligence reports” against the Comité Cerezo and the Cerezo brothers now held prisoners.

In this case the author of the note not only deliberately invents and distorts the facts, but also relies on old notes of the same type whose purpose is to discredit and create false impressions with regards to social organizations and, in this case, Héctor and Antonio Cerezo, two brothers unjustly sentenced to 7 ½ years in federal prison.

Fabio Fuentes, in accord with the editorial policy of the director of El Gráfico, states that “Military intelligence reports indicate that the Peoples’ Revolutionary Army (EPR) is leading the movement of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO).” After making this allegation, the author closes his note by attacking social organizations and the Cerezo brothers: “Other participants are the Zapotec Indigenous Peoples’ Organization, with 21 of their leaders imprisoned, 6 on state charges and 15 on federal charges in La Palma, among them, the Cerezo Contreras brothers....”

It is common knowledge that Héctor and Antonio Cerezo are not members of any organization. Neither are they indigenous Zapotecs, much the less leaders of this fraternal organization. The most dated information presumably refers to the fact that until the beginning of 2006 Héctor Cerezo was in “Puente Grande” and Antonio Cerezo was in “Matamoros”; it was not the case, as the note states, that “they were separated [from the others] in other prisons.”

We recall that the Cerezo brothers are hostages of the Mexican state, victims of crimes against humanity, such as “the taking of hostages.” They were illegally arrested, tortured, and sent to maximum security prisons. Their lawyer Digna Ochoa y Plácido was killed, and they have been denied justice and a fair trial. They have also been subjected to cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment in the extermination camp CEFERESO #1 “Altiplano,” with absolutely no respect for their most basic rights.

The State is trying to adversely influence the people of
Mexico by hiring pseudo-journalistic firms to create the conditions for repression against participants in the APPO and against organizations that are problematic for them due to their denunciations of repeated, systematic violations against social activists and human rights defenders.

A campaign of intimidation, surveillance, and death threats has been carried out every year against the Comité Cerezo, but it has been intensified since the attack by federal forces against the people of San Salvador Atenco, on May 4 of this year.

During a meeting about the Atenco case at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in May of this year, one of our members was filmed by a presumed agent of the Federal Preventive Police. Although charges were filed and the agent’s voter registration card containing his address was submitted to authorities, an investigation has not been carried out as of now.

Later, on September 6, the same committee member received a new death threat, which has neither been investigated by the federal Attorney General’s Office nor by the District Attorney’s Office of Mexico DF, despite their responsibility to do so.

On September 20 and 21, other members of our Committee were followed and surveilled in the State of Puebla by a car with license plates from the State of Mexico.

The harassment of the unjustly imprisoned Cerezo brothers continues. Although they have been placed in isolation as punishment for receiving letters containing photocopies, supposed “military intelligence reports” accuse them of being members of the EPR and, what’s more, leading the APPO.

Once again, as we have done in the face of every attack against our denunciation of human rights violations and our promotion and defense of human rights during the last five years, we hold the governmental authorities in Mexico responsible for the physical and psychological integrity of each and every member of our Cerezo Committees in DF and in the states, primarily President Vicente Fox Quesada, Minister of the Interior Carlos Abascal Carranza, and the Department of Defense (SEDENA) for its “military intelligence reports.”

Respectfully yours:

“Because being a university student is not synonymous with being a terrorist”

Comité Cerezo México

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