Urgent Action – Mine activists beaten and threatened (Guatemala)

3 March 2011

UA 57/11 – Fear for Safety

Guatemala – Protesters against the Marlin Mine including Miguel Bámaca (m), Aniceto López (m)

On 28 February, protesters against the Marlin Mine in south-western Guatemala were attacked. One protester, Aniceto López, was taken to the office of the local mayor, where he was allegedly beaten and threatened with death for speaking out against the mine.

On 28 February, 200 members of the communities of San Miguel Ixtahuacán municipality were protesting against the Guatemalan state’s failure to suspend extraction activities in the Marlin mine, in the San Miguel Ixtahuacán municipality, in the San Marcos department of south-western Guatemala. Activities have continued at the Marlin Mine, owned by Montana Exploradora de Guatemala, S.A., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Goldcorp, despite the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordering for activities to be suspended until the effects of the mine on local indigenous communities are properly assessed.

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Urgent Action – Indigenous leader and wife shot dead (Mexico)

25 May 2010
Further information on UA 110/10 (10 May 2010) – Fear for safety (PDF)

MEXICO – Community of San Juan Copala

On 20 May, indigenous leader, Timoteo Alejandro Ramírez, and his wife, Cleriberta Castro Aguilar, were shot dead in their home in Yosoyuxi community, part of the “autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala” in the Triqui indigenous area of Oaxaca state, Mexico.

On 20 May, at least two men entered the home of Timoteo Alejandro Ramírez , aged 46, and Cleriberta Castro Aguilar, aged 36, and shot them in the head, leaving their five children unharmed in another room. Timoteo Ramírez was one of the principle leaders of the “autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala” and of the Independent Movement for Triqui Unity and Struggle (Movimiento de Unificación y Lucha Triqui Independiente, MULTI), the faction of Triqui indigenous peoples which has supported the creation of the autonomous municipality.

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Update on Urgent Action – Ilham Tohti (China)

28 August 2009

Further Information on UA 194/09 (20 July 2009) – Incommunicado detention/Fear of torture

CHINA – Ilham Tohti (m)

Ilham Tohti, editor of the website “Uighur Online” and associate economics professor at Central Nationalities University, was released on 23 August 2009 in Beijing, China’s capital. However, he remains under surveillance.

Ilham Tohti was taken from his home on 8 July, shortly after the authorities said that articles posted on his website had fuelled the violence in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwestern China. Ilham Tohti has denied the accusation saying that he would never agree with using violence.

His detention was arbitrary and illegal. In an interview with Radio Free Asia upon his release, Ilham Tohti said that he was not charged with any crime. His lawyer has not received any legal documentation on his detention, and he was not held in an official place of detention. It appears that his detention was a move to prevent him from communicating with journalists and through his website and blog.

In the same interview with Radio Free Asia, Ilham Tohti also said that he was not tortured or otherwise ill-treated in detention, but that the police questioned him “day and night.” Upon release, the police told him not to criticize the government or he would face formal charges and punishment.

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Urgent Action – Zamora Gómez family (Mexico)

28 July 2009

UA 202/09 – Torture

MEXICO – José Natividad Zamora Gómez (m), aged 25
Andrés Zamora Gómez (m), aged 27
Jorge Hernández Jardón (m), aged 24

Soldiers broke into the home of the Zamora Gómez family in Morelos state, central Mexico, and tortured three people. The soldiers searched the house and found no weapons or drugs, but went back to watch the house. The family are at risk of further serious human rights violations.

At 12:30am on 24 July, a group of 15 soldiers wearing balaclavas and carrying firearms kicked the front door and broke into the home of the Zamora Gómez family, in Jiutepec municipality. The soldiers did not have a warrant to enter the house. The soldiers grabbed and tied José Natividad Zamora Gómez (aged 25), his brother Andrés Zamora Gómez (aged 27) and his brother-in-law Jorge Hernández Jardón (aged 24) and started hitting them, asking questions about “weapons and drugs” and what they knew about a local criminal gang. They forced the mother of the two brothers, along with their wives and their four small children, into a room and questioned them as well.

The soldiers put a pillow case over Andrés Zamora’s head and then doused him with water while they continued hitting and interrogating him. Andrés Zamora could not speak and could hardly breathe. They then took him out of the house and threw him out onto the street. The soldiers also searched the house, saying they were looking for drugs and weapons. They found nothing, and left at 2am. When asked why they were doing this, one officer said they were “only doing their job” (solo hacían su trabajo) and that they would be coming back for more questioning.

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Urgent Action – Ilham Tohti (China)

20 July 2009

UA 194/09 – Incommunicado detention/Prisoner of conscience (PDF)

CHINA – Ilham Tohti (m)

Ilham Tohti, editor of the website Uighur Online and associate economics professor at Central Nationalities University in the Chinese capital, Beijing, has been held incommunicado by the authorities since 8 July. His whereabouts are unknown, and he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. He is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for exercising his right to peaceful freedom of expression.

At about 1am on 8 July, Ilham Tohti phoned a friend, saying that he had been told he would be detained and that he was afraid that he would never be able to speak to his friend again. Ilham Tohti told his friend that the authorities had accused him of instigating a riot between members of the Uighur ethnic group and the authorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwestern China on 5 July. The authorities have stated that around 190 people were killed in the course of the unrest. Ilham Tohti denied the authorities’ accusation, telling his friend that he would never agree with using violence. Ilham Tohti is believed to have been detained at the university by police a few hours after making this phone call. His lawyer and family have not been informed of his whereabouts.

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