Amnesty International Appeal, 1/15/97

Global Exchange has passed along the following Urgent Action Appeal from Amnesty International. Subscribers to this list are familiar with the situation in Tepotzlan, Morelos. The incident and detentions described below grow out of the ongoing tensions there.

Torture / Fear of torture / Prisoners of conscience, 15 January 1997


Laurencio Guarneros Sandoval, aged 40, community activist

Julio Bello Palacios, aged 16, community activist

Remigio Ayala Martinez, aged 18, community activist

Carlos Ricardo Ruiz Canada, aged 45, restaurant manager


The four people named above were arrested on 11 January 1997 by members of the judicial police of Yautepec, at Yautepec, Tepoztlan, Morelos state. During the following two hours at least two of them are alleged to have been tortured - 16-year-old Julio Bello Palacios was taken to a cliff at gunpoint and threatened with death, and Laurencio Guarneros Sandoval was forced to sign a confession of unknown content.

The four were then transferred to prison in Cuernavaca, Morelos state, where they remain. The family of Laurencio Guarneros Sandoval have visited him in prison and have confirmed signs of torture. Amnesty International fears that the four remain at risk of further torture and ill-treatment.

Laurencio Guarneros Sandoval, Julio Bello Palacios and Remigio Ayala Martinez are members of the Comite de Unidad Tepozteca (CUT), Committee of Tepoztecan Unity, an indigenous peasant organization, and of the volunteer security group for the Tepoztlan town hall. They have been very active in protecting and promoting the rights of Tepoztlan people. Amnesty International believes they have been imprisoned solely on the grounds of their lawful activities and considers them to be prisoners of conscience.

Suspicions of an official cover-up of the torture have been raised by the fact that the arrival of the four in prison was registered as having occurred two hours earlier. These were the two hours during which the detainees were allegedly being tortured elsewhere.

Amnesty International delegations visited Tepoztlan in June and December 1996 and were able to interview some of the human rights defenders, community activists and members of CUT who had been ill-treated, threatened and imprisoned. The delegation confirmed the reports of violent repression against those active in promoting and protecting human rights.



Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/ airmail letters:

- expressing deep concern at the alleged torture of Laurencio Guarneros Sandoval and Julio Bello Palacios;

- calling for the unconditional and immediate release of all four

detainees as prisoners of conscience;

- urging the government to take immediate measures to guarantee their safety while they remain in custody;

- calling for a prompt and thorough investigation into the alleged

torture and for those members of the security forces responsible to be brought to justice;

- asking to be kept informed of the outcome of any investigation.


Please send appeals immediately.


1) President of the Republic:

(Sr. Presidente / Dear President)

Lic. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon

Presidente de la Republica

Palacio Nacional

06067 Mexico D.F.


[Telegrams: Presidente Zedillo, Mexico D.F., Mexico]

[Telexes: 170937 sppnme; 1774468 sppnme]

[Faxes: 011 52 5 515 1794 or 011 52 5 542 1648 (voice line: ask 'me

puede dar tono de fax, por favor')]


2) Attorney General of the Republic:

(Sr. Procurador de la Republica/Dear Attorney)

Lic. Jorge Madrazo Cuellar

Procuraduria General de la Republica

Paseo de la Reforma y Violeta

Col. Guerrero

06300 Mexico D.F.


[Telegrams: Sr. Procurador de la Republica, Mexico D.F., MEXICO]

[Fax: 011 52 5 626 4419/ 011 52 5 626 4430]


3) Minister of the Interior:

(Sr. Secretario / Dear Minister)

Lic. Emilio Chuayffet Chemor

Secretario de la Gobernacion

Secretaria de la Gobernacion

Bucareli 99, 1er piso

Col. Juarez, 06699 Mexico DF


[Telegrams: Secretario Gobernacion, Mexico D.F., Mexico]

[Faxes: 011 52 5 546 5350]


4) Governor of the State of Morelos:

(Sr. Gobernador / Dear Governor)

Governor of the state of Morelos

Lic. Jorge Carrillo Olea

Gobernador del Estado de Morelos

Palacio de Gobierno Cuernavaca

Estado de Morelos, MEXICO

[Telegrams: Gobernador Morelos, Mexico]

[Faxes: 011 52 7 311 3020; this is a voice line so please ask to have

the fax machine turned on.]


Copies To:

1) Daily newspaper:

Sr. Editor

La Jornada

Balderas 68

06050 Mexico D.F.



2) Human rights organization:

Sres., Centro de Derechos Humanos

Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez, AC

CP 06700

Mexico D.F.

MEXICO [E-mail:]


3) Ambassador Jesus Silva Herzog

Embassy of Mexico

1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington DC 20006


The preceeding information is from Amnesty International's research headquarters in London, England. A.I. is an independent worldwide movement working for the international protection of human rights. It seeks the release of people detained because of their beliefs, color, sex, ethnic origin, language or religious creed, provided they have not used nor advocated violence. These are termed prisoners of conscience. It works for fair and prompt trials for all political prisoners and works on behalf of such people detained without charge or trial. It opposes the death penalty, extra-judicial executions (political killings), 'disappearances' and torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of all prisoners without reservation.