국제앰네스티는 높은 전기 요금에 반대하는 캠페인을 벌였다는 이유로 구금된 3명의 지역 사회 지도자들이 단식 운동에 착수하면서 멕시코 당국에 이들의 석방을 요청했다.
지역 사회 지도자 사라 로페즈(Sara López), 호아킨 아길라(Joaquín Aguilar), 과달루페 보르하(Guadalupe Borja)는 작년 7월 동부 캄페체주에서 높은 전기세에 반대하는 운동에 가담했다는 이유로 구금됐다.
5월14일 이들 3명은 무죄 인정 및 석방이 이뤄질 때까지 단식을 하겠다고 선언했다
국제앰네스티 케리 하워드(Kerrie Howard) 미주 부국장은 “사라, 호아킨, 과달루페는 석방 요구에 대한 마지막 수단으로 단식 투쟁에 들어섰다”며 “불공정한 징역형에 대한 필사적인 항의”라고 전했다.
멕시코 연방 법무장관은 이들이 지난 2008년 멕시코 연방 전기 회사 직원을 납치한 혐의가 있다고 주장하고 있다.
국제앰네스티는 제기된 혐의를 입증하는 증거가 없으며, 이 같은 주장은 단지 이들의 구금과 기소를 정당화시키기 위한 행위로써 높은 전기세에 반대한 것에 대한 멕시코 당국의 보복이라고 전했다.
Mexico urged to release imprisoned community leaders on hunger strike
21 May 2010
Amnesty International has called on the Mexican authorities to release three community leaders who began a hunger strike in protest at their detention for taking part in a campaign against high electricity prices.
Community leaders Sara López, Joaquín Aguilar and Guadalupe Borja were detained in July 2009 over their involvement in the National Movement against High Electricity Tariffs in the eastern state of Campeche.
On Friday 14 May 2010, the three pledged to refuse food until their innocence is recognized and they are released.
“Sara, Joaquín and Guadalupe have gone on hunger strike as a last resort to demand their release. It is a desperate act to protest against their unfair imprisonment,” said Kerrie Howard, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s America’s programme.
Mexico’s Federal Attorney General (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) is accusing the three leaders of allegedly holding hostage an employee of Mexico’s Federal Electricity Company in 2008.
Amnesty International said it believes that there is no evidence to support the charges against the three and that the case was fabricated in order to secure their detention and prosecution in reprisal for their leading role protesting against the high electricity tariffs.
The charges were based on an original complaint by the legal representative of the electricity company for obstructing delivery of a public service, a minor charge.
The complaint came after the protest leaders met with the electricity company to press for the electricity supply to be reconnected.
The company had cut the supply to community members for non payment, because some were unable to pay and others would not pay in protest at the high bills.
In January 2010, a federal appeal court ruled that the evidence against the three was unsubstantiated and was insufficient to suggest the crimes had ever been committed. At this stage the three leaders should have been released.
However, the PGR requested a review of the federal appeal court ruling without justification thus prolonging their detention until the appeal is resolved.
Amnesty International has requested the PGR to withdraw the petition for review in order to end the unfair and unwarranted detention but the PGR has so far refused.
“The criminal charges against Sara, Joaquín and Guadalupe are completely unfounded and have been brought by the PGR only to stop their campaign against high electricity tariffs,” said Kerrie Howard.
On 25 September 2008, around 40 people living in the town of Candelaria, Campeche State, whose electricity had just been cut off went to the local offices of the Federal Electricity Company to press for the electricity supply to be reconnected.
While members of the local community gathered in front of the offices, Sara López and Joaquín Aguilar led the talks with a company official to secure reconnection of the power supply.
The official then accompanied the community delegation to reconnect the electricity supply to the affected houses.
According to the case file, the electricity company’s legal representative filed a complaint with the PGR on the same day as the protest for the minor offence of “obstructing the delivery of a public service”.
Those accused of the offence by the electricity company were simply the names on a list of debtors for non-payment of electricity bills – which did not include Sara López, Joaquín Aguilar and Guadalupe Borja.
Nine months later, on 25 June 2009, the PGR charged Sara López, Joaquín Aguilar and Guadalupe Borja and 11 other people with the crime of obstruction, but also for the far more serious offence of hostage-taking during the protest. At 5am on 10 July 2009, five people were arrested; two were subsequently released on appeal, but Sara López, Joaquín Aguilar and Guadalupe Borja are still in custody.