Views expressed on this website do not necessarily represent the ideas or opinions of the Northeast Anarchist Network or affiliated groups. Posts, comments and statements represent the individual user by which they are posted, or an individual or group cited within the text.

Rejection of new sentences in Atenco case

“We demand security against kidnapping, too!”

On Tueday August 26, demonstrators accompanied lawyers presenting an appeal against the new sentences handed down last week in the Atenco case without one piece of solid evidence against anyone. Judge Alberto Cervantes, who admitted that the determination of the sentences "came from higher up" has suddenly been replaced. At the same time, there's a buildup in the harrasment of the prisoner support camp outside Molino de Flores prison. The Peoples' Front in Defense of the Land has announced a series of actions.

Yesterday, outside the Molino de Flores prison, about 70 members of the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) of San Salvador Atenco and members of The Other Campaign shouted out their rejection of the brutal new sentences in the Atenco case while the Zapatista Lawyers went inside to file an appeal. Demonstrators called to the state police (ASES) guarding the gate: “How can you look your own children in the face? They’re poor, like us. What if they turn out to be rebels? Are you going to murder, rape, and torture them, too?”

And... voilá! Leaving the prison, the lawyer Juan de Dios Hernández reported that Judge Alberto Cervantes, who determined the new sentences, has been replaced. On charges of kidnapping? Conspiracy? Corruption? Ineptitude? None of the above. He was never anything but a vile prosecutor disguised as a judge who had his little deal worked out with the statewide mafia headed by Governor Enrique Peña Nieto. He did the dirty work he was charged with, endorsing and prolonging the kidnapping of Ignacio del Valle and all the other compañeros that took place in Atenco and Texcoco on May 3 and 4, 2006 and has continued ever since then.

The sentences came down last week. ON Thursday, August 21, e-mails were sent out from the Molino de Flores prisoner support camp around noon reporting the early morning presence of approximately 500 policemen outside the prison, including patrol cars and trucks of the State Security Agency (ASE). Were they there to evacuate the encampment? People weren’t sure at first, but before long, the reason for the massive police presence became clear. Sentences were about to be handed down in the court inside the prison. Members of the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land (FPDT) of San Salvador Atenco had gotten word and were marching towards Molino de Flores.

And what are these outrageous sentences dictated by the First Judge Alberto Cervantes? Óscar Hernández, Alejandro Pilón, Julio Espinosa, Pedro Reyes, Juan Carlos Estrada, Jorge Ordóñez, Adán Ordóñez, Narciso Arellano, Inés Rodolfo Cuéllar y Eduardo Morales are supposed to rot in prison for 31 years, 10 months, and 15 days for the crime of aggravated kidnapping.

And Atenco leader Ignacio del Valle? Convicted of being the mind behind the aggravated kidnapping, his fate (according to the State) is to be buried in prison for an additional 45 years, added to the 67 ½ he’s now serving in the Altiplano maximum security prison along with Felipe Álvarez and Héctor Galindo for supposed “kidnappings” that took place in April and February of 2006, before the events of May 3 and 4.

The flower vendor Patricia Romero, subject to hostility in Molino de Flores for several months, received a lighter, yet unjust sentence of 4 years from the Third Judge Albino Cháves; she, her son Arturo Sánchez Romero and her father Raúl Romero Macías will be able to get out on bail if the Public Prosecutor doesn’t appeal the verdict.

As explained by Juan de Dios Hernández, of the Zapatista lawyers collective ( ), these sentences are strictly based on alleged circumstantial evidence: there’s no solid evidence against any of the defendants. The evidence consists of the contradictory statements of the policemen said to be kidnap victims. They claim to be able to identify the responsible parties but also say that the people who supposedly deprived them of their freedom were wearing ski-masks or bandanas and that they couldn’t see their faces. Furthermore, they say that the policemen themselves covered the faces of those arrested and forced them to keep their heads down and for this reason, they hadn’t been able to see them. The statements comprised the same evidence used by the Public Prosecutor to show probable responsibility and hold the defendants in pre-trial detention. “But to sentence someone, the Public Prosecutor doesn’t have to show probable responsibility; he has to show solid proof of the responsibility of the defendants.” He never did that, says Juan de Dios Hernández, not in the original statements given to the Public Prosecutor, not in the amplified statements, and not in the face-to-face confrontation between the policemen and their supposed kidnappers.

There’s more. As shown in the video, a family member who was able to ask Judge Alberto Cervantes about the sentence tells what he said: “I asked him why he had made that decision about the sentence and he said it came down from higher-up, he only had limited jurisdiction and shouldn’t go any further but instead tend to other things. The Magistrate was the one who gave the orders.” It should be remembered that it was Magistrate José C. Castillo Ambriz, President of the Superior Tribune of Justice of the State of Mexico, who met with a commission of demonstrators in Toluca last August 8, promising a speedy resolution in the case. The Magistrate also has a master: Enrique Peña Nieto, who openly brags about ordering the operation in Atenco and Texcoco and has already put himself in the running to be President of Mexico.

To top it off, the sentence states that in the talks that took place on May 2 with municipal PRD party functionaries, no agreement was reached to withdraw the “security” forces and to allow the flower sellers to work at one side of the market where they had always worked, despite the fact that a videotape of the meeting clearly shows the truth. Watch Part 1 of the documentary Atenco Crimen del Estado. Look at the meeting scene. Notice the restraint shown by Ignacio del Valle and his willingness to rely on words to convince the functionaries to do the right thing. Now look at the functionaries. Look at the way they speak. Look at their body language. Are they at ease? Had they already decided they were going to betray the agreement?

Let’s be clear. The supposed “kidnapping” on May 3 2006 was NOT a real kidnapping like those of “el mochaorejas” who cut off his victims ears or that of the son of the magnate Martí, who was killed after his ransom was paid. The “kidnapping” consisted of holding several policemen hostage for a few hours after the conflict that they themselves started, violently evacuating the flower vendors from their traditional place on a street at the side of the market in Texcoco in violation of the May 2 agreement and besieging the house where they and FPDT members took refuge that day, during which time Ignacio del Valle repeatedly requested that the police be pulled back and that a dialogue be initiated. After nine hours, showing no interest whatsoever in a negotiated settlement, the police evacuated the house, arrested the occupants, and beat them with all their might. Now ten people are convicted of “kidnapping” with no evidence against any one of them and Ignacio del Valle is convicted of ordering the “kidnapping” even though he wasn’t even present when the alleged events took place. The police were retained when the townspeople of San Salvador Atenco went out to block a highway to protest the aggression against their comrades in Texcoco. When hundreds of police tried to clear the highway, using extreme violence, the townspeople defended themselves and there were many people wounded on both sides. The aggressors were retained for bargaining purposes and handed over to the Red Cross the same day with their wounds attended to. The evidence is taped for all the world to see. Watch the part of the documentary where the policemen expresses his gratitude for being allowed to call an ambulance. Watch the entire documentary and decide for yourself. Did the flower vendors, accompanied by Ignacio del Valle, Felipe Álvarez and other comrades go to the Texcoco marked on May 3, 2006 to provoke violence? Was it their aim to kidnap anyone? Or were the only insisting on their right to sell their flowers?

But how convenient for those responsible for the state terrorism committed in Texcoco and Atenco on May 3 and 4, 2006 ––Genaro García LUna, Eduardo Medina Mora, Wilfrido Robledo, Ardelio Vargas, Enrique Peña Nieto, and Nazario Gutiérrez–– that these sentences were handed down the very same day of the National Security Council meeting in the National Palace of Mexico under the pretext of “responding to citizens’ demands” for more security in the midst of the wave of kidnappings and murders ripping through the country. There they all were. Along with the state governors and Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, they outlined more repressive measures to control the people and make everyone fearful of participating in the social movements: the construction of more maximum security prisons; the imposition of the death penalty and life sentences; more trainers from Washington and Tel Aviv; more mercenaries; total surveillance of citizens by telephone, internet and cameras on every street corner in the capital city; and the creation of a snitch culture. All this in the framework of Plan México (Mérida Initiative), which has Mexico firmly under the United States national security regime and the people of Mexico kidnapped.

The response to the sentences from Atenco was swift: “112 ½ years in prison for our comrade Ignacio del Valle! This fills us with anger and we warn Peña Nieto here and now that we will not stay quiet and will keep right on accusing him of being a rapist and a murderer. He should know that his presidential aspirations will be cut short, that all he proudly ordered in Atenco and Texcoco on May 3 and 4, 2006—rape, murder, torture–– will not go unpunished, that it’ll be a dead weight for his presidential campaign and will put an end to his “political” career, that he’ll end up like his uncle Arturo Montiel on the sidelines bemoaning his stupid blunders.” The FPDT states that it will seek “seek out the solidarity of all national and international organizations to bring Enrique Peña Nieto to a political trial for his grievous human rights violations....”

Up until no high official has been indicted for the state crimes committed on May 3 & 4 in Atency and Texcoco. 21 state and local police were charged and of them 15 acquitted and 5 still charged only of abuse of authority, a misdemeanor. Only one policeman, Doroteo Blas Marcelo, who forced one of the women arrested in the San Salvador Atenco operation to perform oral sex, has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for “libidinous acts” but not for torture. Paying his $8000 peso fine, he’ll never set foot in jail.

Several of the former women political prisoners who were tortured through rape and sexual abuse in ATenco have also sworn that “from the grassroots, our justice will see to it that Peña Nieto, governor of the State of Mexico, and politically responsible for the Atenco operation, will keep on running into women everywhere he goes who stand before him with a mirror that says ‘torturer’”. They’ve filed criminal complaints in the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Violent Crimes against Women, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the National Audience of Spain, and continue to weave solidarity ties through constant work of denunciation and diffusion. Their courageous testimonies can be seen on the documentary made by the Agustín Pro Center for Human Rights: .

In response to the sentences, members of the Other Campaign in the encampment outside the prison are looking out for the well-being of the prisoners, just as they’ve been doing for the last two years and four months, first at “Santiaguito” prison and now ant Molino de Flores, visiting them, supporting their family members, raising bail money. (Can you think of another camp like this anywhere in the world that’s maintained itself outside a prison for such a long time despite heat, cold or rain?) Now participants are sending out notices of increased police harassment at the camp: “On Friday, August 22, there was a discrete police presence all day long around the camp. During the day there was an ASE truck parked outside and constant patrols by truck and cars. Today, August 23, around 2:00 a.m., the harassment continued, with patrols even coming into the prison parking lot where we’re set up. There were 3 truck and 2 ASE patrol cars.”

Trinidad Ramírez of the FPDT invited everyone to join in a counter protest alongside the security march organized by the right wing this Saturday, with banners denouncing the kidnapping of the political prisoners of Atenco and Texcoco. She also announced a demonstration at the Supreme Court on September 4 and several other actions against the sentences. On September 15, Front members will welcome Jorge Flores home from clandestinity with all charges dropped.

You can sign a petition demanding the derogation of the 67 ½ year sentences against Ignacio del Valle, Felipe Álvarez, and Héctor Galindo, the derogation of the new sentences handed down last week, freedom for all the Atenco prisoners, and justice in the murders of Alexis Benhumea and Francisco Javier Cortés at: contraimpunidad [at]

You can also make a deposit for bail money for Patricia Romero, her father and son at:
Account #: 0515325032
In the name of: Rosalba Gómez Rivera y Begoña Lecumberri Usparan
Code for international deposits: 072180005153250320

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Views expressed on this website do not necessarily represent the ideas or opinions of the Northeast Anarchist Network or affiliated groups. Posts, comments and statements represent the individual user by which they are posted, or an individual or group cited within the text.