On June 17th 2014 at 2:00 am, the General Attorney of Justice of the state of Guerrero instructed an operative to detain Marco Antonio Suastegui Munoz, historical leader of the Council of Ejidos and Communities Against the ‘La Parota’ Dam (CECOP). This farmers organization has been resisting the construction of ‘La Parota’ for 10 years now, in defence of their communal lands in the branches of the ‘Papagayo’ river in the municipality of Acapulco, province of Guerrero.
At 9 am, after leaving his home, Marco Antonio Suastegui was seized by more than 15 agents of the Ministerial Police as he was travelling in his car on ‘Bora Bora’ Road, corner of ‘Rodrigo de Triana’ in the neighbourhood of ‘Lomas de Magallanes’, municipality of Acapulco. Using extreme violence, the Ministerial Police snatched him from his vehicle without presenting any order of arrest. Once subdued, he was told that if he were to try to resist, he would be killed. Throughout the journey he received threats and was repeatedly harmed, while being told that this was happening to him because he was “acting rebellious”. After that, he was transferred to the Centre for Social Reintegration of ‘Las Cruces’ in Acapulco, without being allowed to communicate with his legal representatives or family.
Around 10:00 am personnel of the Centre for Human Rights of the Mountain ‘Tlachinollan’, which were in charge of the legal defence of the council, arrived to demand information regarding the arrest of Marco Antonio Suastegui from the penitential and judicial authorities. The tenth judge in Criminal Law of the Court of original jurisdiction, Adolfo Vanmeeter Roque, stated that he would work on the draft declaration of the detainee in the afternoon.
At 2:00 pm, the judge informed that the leader of the CECOP had been moved to the Social Re-adaptation Centre of the Isidoro Montes de Oca Union, located in the Costa Grande of Guerrero; this despite the fact that the official was obliged to extensively analyze the legality of the order of transit, violating process rights, given that he is responsible for the personal liberty of Marco Antonio Suástegui.
Consequently, disregarding the decision of suspension not to be moved to a federal prison, granted by Lilia Maribel Maya Delgado, the judge of the third district based in Acapulco, within the shelter number 649/2014 –I; the responsible authorities, acting perversely and with complete impenetrability, moved Marco Antonio Suástegui to the Federal Social Re-adaptation Center number 04 northwest in Tepic, Nayarit, treating him as a highly dangerous delinquent or offender. Given the conditions in which the events have occurred, it is evident that said mechanism has been used to detain and repress the leader of the CECOP.
The relocation to the Federal Prison is a grave injury to the right to an adequate defence, recognized by article 20 of the Constitution, since in the acts leave the detainee without the possibility to maintain constant and fluid communication with his or her defender/s. It is important to mention that said mechanism has been used in the last months by the government of the state of Guerrero against other leaders of social movements, compromising the very purpose of the federal centres of high and medium security, which end up not being used to seclude the delinquent suspects that could most harm society, but instead to seclude and detain leaders of social movements.
The detention of the leader of the CECOP has the clear purpose of weakening the movement of alleged rural organization, that for more than a decade has opposed the imposition of the hydroelectric project “La Parota”; which, should be recalled, has been included in the new reconstruction plan of so-called “Nuevo Guerrero”, the state of the Federal Executive, and is added to the long list of cases of criminalization of social movements in the state of Guerrero.
Sign Urgent Action issued by the Human Rights Centre of the Mountain of Tlachinollan:
Illegal detention and transfer of CECOP leader to federal penitentiary – Tlachinollan
Ladies and Gentlemen
I turn to you to express my concern for the detention, on past 17th June, of the leader of the Council of Ejidos and Communities in Opposition to the ‘La Parota’ Dam (CECOP), Marco Antonio Suástegui; who after being made available before the tenth judge in Criminal Law of the Court of original jurisdiction and secluded in the Centre for Social Reintegration (Cereso) of ‘Las Cruces’, was arbitrarily transferred to another state Cereso institution and after that transferred yet again to a federal centre of imprisonment, violating his right to a legitimate counsel. The purpose of Marco Antonio Suástegui’s detention is to weaken the movement of the rural organization, which has been opposing te imposition of hydroelectric project ‘La Parota’ for over a decade. For this reason I demand:
1. The immediate release of Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, Cecop leader.
2. The repeal of his relocation/transfer, which is an illegal, arbitrary act and an infringement of human rights outside of the state of Guerrero
3. The guarantee of his physical and psychological integrity.
4. The respect of his unconditional right to adequate counsel and due process.
5. An end to the establishment of other penal processes against him.
6. An end to the persecution and criminalization of other CECOP leaders.
Urgent Action issued by Amnesty International: Community Leader Arrested and Beaten: Marco Antonio Suastegui
Read more about resistance against ‘La Parota ‘ on International Rivers: Hasta la Victoria: La Parota Dam Cancelled