*The murder of human rights defenders and journalists in the country has become a pattern of impunity that seeks to instill fear, attempts to silence the voices of those who denounce violence and defend their rights, as well as creating an immobilizing effect on the organizational processes that exist in the territories.
This Tuesday, the oral proceedings for the murder of Simón Pedro Pérez López, Tsotsil and member of the Civil Society Organization of Las Abejas de Acteal and Catechist of the Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, were to begin. However, it was postponed because the Judicial Authority of Chiapas did not guarantee the presence of the accused.
“We are people, we are subjects, we demand respect… they cancel or change the hearings when they want and how they want…. The same thing continues, they don’t want to see us because we are indigenous, but we are going to continue forward, we are not afraid, we are not tired,” were the words of Las Abejas de Acteal.
The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Rights Center (Frayba) indicated that the hearing represented a key moment to demonstrate the truth of the facts, to determine that the motive for his homicide was in retaliation for his work as a human rights defender and to order full reparation in accordance with the General Law On Victims.The judicial system has the responsibility to act diligently in the face of a serious act that occurs in a context of generalized violence in Chiapas. At the same time, it was risky to resolve the case from a limited criminal logic focused on proving the homicide, leaving aside the motives, the context in which the events took place, and Simón Pedro’s activity as a human rights defender.
“Treating the arbitrary deprivation of life of human rights defenders as an isolated homicide is a sign of the state’s interest in making this phenomenon invisible, which leads to impunity and its repetition,” added Frayba.
On the other hand, Las Abejas de Acteal appeared this day in Pichucalco, in front of the Control Court, to accompany Juan Pérez Gómez, father of Simón Pedro, along with his family for the presentation of evidence and for the judge in charge of the case to sentence the material murderer of the crime.
They also requested the judge and the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) of Chiapas not to leave loose the threads that lead to the investigation into the intellectual authors of Simón Pedro’s crime.
They pointed out that the context in which his death occurred was due to his work in the defense of human rights and for denouncing, along with the inhabitants and servants of the Word of God of the Parish of Pantelhó, the existence of criminal groups in that municipality.
“The murder of our brother Simón Pedro was due to his mission in defense of the lives of poor people, such as children, women and the elderly; our brother Simón Pedro was sent to be killed because the criminals knew that he was a member of our pacifist organization,” said Las Abejas.
They also reminded both the state and federal government that the violence in the area of Pantelhó and Simojovel was escalating, they asked for guarantees and security for the physical and psychological integrity of the entire population, they shouted with public denunciations that they did not want another Acteal to be repeated.
“Sadly this is what happened to our comrade and brother Simón Pedro and other people murdered in this context of generalized violence, the Moreno government did not act accordingly, but allowed the criminals to impose terror and barbarism on the Tsotsil communities causing forced displacements and deaths that to date remain unpunished,” Las Abejas stressed.
For this reason, they demanded that the judge of the Trial Court of Pichucalco pass a guilty verdict on the perpetrator, who is already in custody, because there is sufficient evidence to convict him.
Their demands also include:
That the State recognizes that the murder of Simón Pedro was due to his work as a defender of human rights and life. That the judge and the Attorney General’s Office of Chiapas initiate without delays or pretexts the investigation of the intellectual authors of the murder.
Finally, the state and federal government should act to stop the violence and the serious human rights and security crisis for human rights defenders and defenders of life.
This article was published by Chiapas Paralelo on https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2023/02/por-ausencia-del-acusado-posponen-juicio-oral-por-el-asesinato-de-simon-pedro/
English translation by Schools for Chiapas.