Manuel Gómez Vazquez, BAEZLN is released! It worked!

We celebrate the freedom of compañero Manuel Gómez, EZLN Support Base.

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas
November 17, 2023
Bulletin No. 23

  • In the context of the 40th anniversary of the EZLN we celebrate the freedom of comrade Manuel Gómez.

His release is made possible thanks to the struggle and commitment of civil society that managed to tip the scales with their actions of social protest.

Yesterday Manuel Gómez Vázquez, support base of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (BAEZLN), a political prisoner of Mayan-Tzeltal origin, regained his freedom after two years, 11 months and seven days of being held hostage by the government of Chiapas, arbitrarily deprived of his liberty in the State Center for the Social Reinsertion of Sentenced Persons (Cerss) number 16 in Ocosingo.

We know that his case is not isolated, but is part of a pattern of repression against defenders and activists of indigenous peoples in Chiapas. This repression is not only directed against his person, the State’s intention is to undermine or corrode the organizational processes and communities of which they are part, in this case towards the Zapatista autonomous project.

On this occasion, the solidarity of civil society managed to shift the balance in order to obtain his freedom. It was only with the rise of their voices and different forms of demands that his oral trial hearing was finally held, and he was released.

Manuel was detained on December 4, 2020, with the complicity of the municipal authorities of Ocosingo and the Office of the Prosecutor for Indigenous Justice, he was tortured, disappeared for four days, and unjustly accused of a crime he did not commit.

From September 2022 to November 2023, the Indigenous Justice Prosecutor’s Office (FJI) and the Chiapas Judiciary complicitly rescheduled, on three occasions, the start of the oral trial hearing. The bottom line was that the FJI could not present the testimonies it had fabricated against him, preferring to postpone its strategy of simulation at the expense of Manuel’s freedom, exceeding the constitutional term of two years of unofficial preventive detention. The impossibility of the FJI to present the fabricated testimonies was enough to expose its simulation strategy.

From Frayba we thank you and remind you that we have yet to snatch from the clutches of repression our comrade Ch’ol José Díaz Gómez, BAEZLN and the five Tseltal defenders from San Juan Cancúc. We invite you to stay tuned and to mobilize on their behalf as well, until all political prisoners obtain their freedom.

Original text published by Fraba at English translation published by Schools for Chiapas.

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