Target: Governor of Mexico State Eruviel Avila Villegas
Goal: Release activist imprisoned on false evidence and ensure charges against him are dropped.
A Mexican environmental and indigenous rights activist has been allegedly arrested and detained in order to prevent him speaking out against illegal logging on indigenous lands. Ildefonso Zamora, a member of the indigenous Tlahuica community of San Juan Atzingo, was arrested on charges of burglary which seem to be unsubstantiated. The charges against him seem to rely largely on “eyewitness” accounts, however, large parts of the alleged eyewitnesses’ testimony seems to be replicated using identical word selection, sequence, and naming the twelve suspects in identical orders. This points to the testimony being fabricated.
Furthermore, while law enforcement has been investigating the crime since it occurred in 2012, Zamora was only informed about the investigation after his arrest and was not given adequate time to prepare his defense. The crime scene was not preserved, and evidence was mishandled, jeopardizing the possibility of a fair trial.
A long-time outspoken critic of excessive and illegal logging, Zamora has been the victim of violent attacks and death threats. In 2007, an attack by loggers left one of Zamora’s sons dead, and another injured. While two of the attackers were apprehended, others remain on the run. Sign our petition and demand the immediate and unconditional release of Ildefonso Zamora as well as an investigation into the irregularities in his case.
Dear Governor Villegas,
I was alarmed and saddened to hear of the continued detention of Ildefonso Zamora. His imprisonment calls into question Mexico State’s commitment to upholding the rule of law, and defending the rights of human rights activists.
In the case of the 2012 burglary in San Juan Atzingo there have been systematic failures of law enforcement. Evidence has been mishandled, the crime scene was not preserved, and the suspects were not informed of the proceedings against them until the last possible moment. When they were charged, the only so-called credible evidence against them were eyewitness testimonies. These testimonies contain a high level of replication in word selection and sequence in the eyewitness testimonies, irregularities that point to them being scripted or fabricated.
I urge you to investigate the irregularities in Zamora’s case and to ensure those responsible are brought to justice for undermining the law. Furthermore, I urge you to make it clear that human rights activism is a human right, and that exercising that right should not make people a target for reprisals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lee Honeycut