WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
22 Jul 2008 | News

WOLA, LAWG Urge Impartiality in the Case of Detained Indigenous Leaders

This Thursday, July 24th, the Eighth Judge of the Acapulco District will have the important responsibility of ruling on an “amparo” for five human rights defenders and members of the Organization of Me’phaa Indigenous People (OPIM).  The human rights defenders are Manuel Cruz Victoriano, Orlando Manzanarez Lorenzo, Natalio Ortega Cruz, Raul Hernandez Abundio, and Romualdo Santiago Enedina.  Since last April, these individuals have been unjustly detained on charges of murder. 

On June 8th, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Latin America Working Group (LAWG) sent a public letter to State Governor Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo, expressing their deep concern about the arbitrary detention of these five human rights defenders and the lack of evidence against them. 

These five members of the OPIM were arrested on April 17th in a combined operation by the police department and the military for the January 1st murder of Alejandro Feliciano Garcia in 2008.  The investigations into the murder had come to a stand still until a few days prior to the arrest.  According the OPIM, the murder was carried out by a paramilitary group of which Garcia was a member.  The arrest orders for the five members of the OPIM were issued only a few hours after the body of the victim was exhumed. 

Given the upcoming ruling by the judge on amparo, WOLA and LAWG remain hopeful that the authorities will act with impartiality and autonomy regarding this case.  WOLA and LAWG also ask the Mexican State to guarantee the security, physical safety and rights of the members of the OPIM.




Maureen Meyer, Associate for Mexico and Central America.



Jennifer Johnson, Senior Associate for Mexico