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#Oaxaca, #Mexico: Freedom, now! Final Hearing of Political Prisoner Miguel Peralta Betanzos

Mexican territoy. This communique comes from the Solidarity Group for the Freedom of Miguel Peralta as his final hearing approaches.

Originally published by Voices in Movement.

Miguel Peralta is an Indigenous Mazateco from the community of Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. For years he participated as a member of the community assembly, the main collective decision-making body in his community.

In 2010, the Zepeda cacique family (local political bosses), using coercion, repression and imprisonment, facilitated the introduction of political parties into the community in order to take over government positions and reap the economic benefits of their power. This unleashed a very serious conflict in the community.

Since April 30th, 2015, Miguel has been imprisoned, currently in the penitentiary of Cuicatlán, Oaxaca. Together with seven other prisoners and more than twenty more people being persecuted, they are accused of the death of one person during an attack carried out by the same Zepeda cacique family in December of 2014, while the community assembly was gathering to elect their traditional authorities.

On October 26th, 2018, Miguel was sentenced to 50 years in prison on charges of homicide and attempted homicide, charges often fabricated against community organizers.

On September 12th, 2019, Miguel Peralta Betanzos will be presented at the Mixed District Court of Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca, at 12pm for his final hearing. This takes place almost a year after his first “final hearing”, where the court denied Miguel’s right to be present, with the court clerk failing to file the necessary documents for Miguel to appear in court. Meanwhile, his community, his family and his comrades made noise out front of the court house demanding his presence, and more importantly, his freedom.

Following the pain and rage brought by Miguel’s 50-year sentence, we are still here. A recent decision made by the appellate judge stated that because Miguel wasn´t present at his final hearing, his 50-year sentence has been nullified, and his case needs to be returned to the point of his final hearing, at the court in Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca. This is the level of injustice we are facing.

We are realists in some sense, knowing this could well be just another tactic to further delay Miguel’s legal process, to further deprive him of his freedom. We know very clear who is behind all this: the Zepeda cacique family and the political apparatus represented in the State Congress of Oaxaca, flexing their political muscle to ensure certain decisions are made by the judges in their favor and against Miguel and his comrades.

We believe however that the time is approaching when the political charade put on by Elisa Zepeda Lagunas will collapse. It is reaching a point where it is too politically costly to defend the lies of Elisa Zepeda Lagunas and her family, where it is unsustainable for judges to keep Miguel locked up with decisions that are so utterly and clearly corrupt.

Within this context, we want to stress that the new judge at the mixed district court of Huautla de Jiménez, Oaxaca, is not the same who dictated the original 50-year sentence, and that he has the legal responsibility to properly study the file, and dictate a new verdict in Miguel’s case. This verdict won’t be made on the day of Miguel’s final court date but will be made in the weeks following. If the file is properly studied, and the court applies at the very minimum their own rules in the decision, Miguel will be freed.

We make a call to the comrades to be attentive to the happenings at Miguel’s final hearing on September 12th, and the verdict which will be released sometime afterwards. We invite those who feel some sort of solidarity with this committed struggle against the carceral state, to organize actions/events/statements in solidarity with Miguel Peralta demanding his immediate freedom, between now and his final hearing, on the day of his final hearing, and the time afterwards while we await a verdict.

Freedom to Miguel Peralta!

Freedom to all prisoners!

Solidarity Group for the Freedom of Miguel Peralta

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