<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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EZLN Comandantes Will Join the Struggle to Free Atenco Prisoners

They Will Travel to Central Mexico, Anounces Marcos; the FPDT Will Step Up Mobilizations

By Javier Salinas Cesareo
La Jornada

July 25, 2006

SAN SALVADOR ATENCO, MEXICO, July 23: Subcomandante Marcos announced that comandantes of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in its Spanish initials) will soon travel to the center of the country to join San Salvador Atenco’s Peoples’ Front for the Defense of the Earth (FPDT) in its struggle to free 27 of its members currently held in the Santiaguito and La Palma prisons.

The featured speaker at a FPDT assembly on Sunday, Delegate Zero reiterated his support for the Atenco movement, and said that the EZLN’s “red alert” – decreed in May – will continue, although he did not specify the date on which the other Zapatistas will arrive.

Marcos’ midday arrival at the San Salvador Atenco esplanade was a huge surprise. Even the Interior Ministry’s undercover agents monitoring the FPDT’s protest encampment in the town center were surprised by his arrival.

More than 600 Atenco residents and members of the Other Campaign’s Sixth Commission met in the town’s Emiliano Zapata Auditorium to hold the assembly. More than 50 members of the Italian group Ya Basta were also there, displaying their solidarity with the FPDT’s struggle.

Those in the assembly agreed to strengthen their joint mobilizations. They announced that on July 25 and 29 they will hold protests in Toluca (the state capital) and at Santiaguito prison respectively.

The first protest will consist of a march to the capital building, and the second of a concert and cultural festival in front of the prison. On August 3 there will also be a marathon from Santiaguito to La Palma prison.

During the assembly, Marcos emphasized the EZLN’s “red alert,” saying, “when they hit Atenco, they hit all of us.”

He added that the “red alert” has been difficult, but that “rather than thinking about how we are doing, we are thinking about how things bust be for Nacho (Igancio del Valle), Felipe (Alvarez) and (Héctor) Galindo,” all prisoners in La Palma.

Obstacles to the Prisoners’ Defense

The lawyer for the 27 prisoners, Juan de Dios Hernández Monge, was also at the meeting and gave a report on the legal situation of those arrested during the police repression on May 3 and 4 in Atenco.

He denounced the fact that, during the legal process against the Atenco prisoners, a series of obstacles have consistently been thrown in his path.

“Out of a total of 12,000 pages of case files, after more than two months we have had access to only 269 pages, which constituted the formal order of imprisonment. We have suffered the same at appeals hearings, which have seen unjustifiable delays,” he said.

He pointed out that looking toward the next hearing, which will take place August 9 in Santiaguito, there have already been irregularities. He explained that, on that day, only five of the 60 subpoenaed state police officers will testify on the arrests, even though the testimony hearing is supposed to be indivisible.

If there are several witnesses, he explained, they should have to appear and testify in an organized fashion, in order to avoid people who have already testified being able to communicate with those who haven’t.

“We are asking the judge for this hearing to be continuous in order to assure that the 60 police officers cannot communicate among themselves, but we have found that this judge is acting under orders and acting according to the interests he represents, which of course are not the interests of justice,” he said.

The lawyer claimed that there are enough factors in the prosecutions to call for the acquittal of all 27 prisoners. “There are no direct, categorical charges, but rather generic charges from the police. There is no individualization of the offenses either. This means that it is impossible to assign corpus delicti or any provable responsibility to the compañeros,” he concluded.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America