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Covering their faces, judicial police appear in court to lie about Víctor Herrera Govea

By • Nov 24th, 2009 • Category: News & Analysis

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Source: El Enemigo Común

Mexico City

“Judicial police, after beating people up and telling lies and covering things up, how do you explain all this at home when you’re asked: what do you do?”

This question written on a poster is one of many that around twenty demonstrators hurled at the judicial police who covered their faces as they left the courtroom in the prison known as the Reclusorio Sur after appearing to give false testimony in the case of the young political prisoner Víctor Herrera Govea on Thursday, November 19: How does it feel to be a torturer? Did you enjoy putting out your cigarette on our comrade’s face? Do you have a mother? How much do they pay you for torture? How much do you earn for a kidnapping? Don’t you feel sick when you look at yourself in the mirror?

For being only 21 years old, Víctor has thrown his grains of sand into the most important struggles that have happened in Mexico in recent years. He may not be seen as a movement leader, but he’s much loved by the people who are always in the streets demanding justice and freedom. As word got around about his brutal arrest, lots of comments about what he’s done could be heard: “I know he helped out on a work brigade in Chiapas.” I saw him in Oaxaca when he was helping to build [the ecological project] La Cacita.” “He has his problems, just like we all do, but at the camp outside Molino de Flores prison, he was there.” “It’s not for nothing that he’s known as ‘Atenco’”. “I think he was with the comrades who were selling flowers and candy outside the bars all night long to raise money to get some other comrades out of jail”. “I knew him when we were in the same class together in the school of Humanities”. “Yeah, he’s an adherent to the Other Campaign”. “Sure, we know him. He’s an anarchist isn’t he?” In his own statement written on October 15, Victor also mentions his work in informational brigades to spread the word about struggles “like people defending themselves against the Parota dam and reservoir” and “the dispossession that’s going on in Tlahuac for the construction of Line 12 of the subway.” He says: “Now more than ever we’re seeking freedom for all the political prisoners in the country like Jacobo Silva and Gloria Arenas [recently released] and the comrades from the Loxicha region in Oaxaca and those at El Amate in Chiapas”.

When Víctor Herrera went to the annual march held on October 2 to commemorate the State murder of students in ’68 and to oppose the repression now going on in Mexico, he was beaten, tortured, arrested and incriminated on charges of aggravated gang robbery and property damage. By aggravating the charges and charging Victor with gang activity, the capital city PRD government of Marcelo Ebrard aims to turn this young activist into a criminal to be able to lock him up for years even though there’s not a bit of evidence against him.

In a call to several November actions, the Committee in Support of Freedom for Victor says: “Víctor Herrera Govea…is one of more than 200 political prisoners that state and federal governments are now holding in the prisons of this country: La Palma and Molino de Flores in the State of Mexico; El Amate in Chiapas; and others in Oaxaca, Guerrero, Campeche, Veracruz, and Tamaulipas. In Mexico City, we’re also experiencing repression and the imposition of neoliberal policies; you can hear all about this from the street vendors forcibly pushed out of the downtown area and public spaces in different districts of the city, the artisans of Coyocán, the communal landholders of Tlaltenco, and others. The “War on Organized Crime” has caused more than 5,000 deaths from one end of the country to the other.”

“There is no justice in this country. Those guilty of bank fraud and corrupt government functionaries go free, while the people you’ll find in jail are farmers who’ve been defending their land, forests and water; indigenous people defending their traditional forms of government, people demanding fair electricity rates, or young people fighting for a better world.

In violation of the law, only the immediate family was allowed to be present at the hearing on November 19, while Victor’s comrades were removed from the courtroom, but not before he saw they were there to support him. They say he looks strong and in good spirits. His mother Eduviges Govea thinks the pressure put on the authorities in several public actions has had the effect of putting them on notice that they’re responsible for his security while he’s in jail.

As it turns out, the judicial agents will have to come back again to testify because only three of the four subpoenaed appeared, so their testimonies were postponed. Meanwhile, supporters are organizing an overnight watch outside the prison on the night of November 29, and support the next day when Victor is scheduled to testify.

He can receive letters at presos2deoctubre@hotmail.com
For more information, see: http://viclibre.acervo.org
Contact: libertadavictor@gmail.com

x Carolina

Letter demanding freedom for Victor Herrera Govea

Dear comrade, friend, or collective:
We send you our warm greetings and thanks for your solidarity, which has helped
Victor and all of us grow stronger day by day.
We ask you to read the attached letter, and if you agree with it, sign it and send it back
to us as soon as possible to this e-mail address: libertadavictor@gmail.com .
We ask that those of you who are our comrades and friends in other countries also send
the letter to Mexican embassies, consulates or other representative institutions in your
respective countries.
We believe this signature campaign will provide much needed support for the work our
movement lawyers are now doing to win Victor’s release. Victor is scheduled to testify
this coming November 30.
We’re sending you a big hug,
Committee to Free Victor
Lic. Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de la República Mexicana
Lic. Fernando Francisco Gómez-Mont Urueta
Secretario de Gobernación,
Rosario Ibarra de la Garza
Coordinadora de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Cámara de Senadores
Prof. Rubén Ignacio Moreira Valdez
Presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de la Cámara de Diputados
Dr. Raúl Plascencia Villanueva
Presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos
Lic. Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon
Jefe de Gobierno del D.F.
Miguel Mancera Espinosa
Procurador General de Justicia del D.F.
Dr. Luis Armando González Placencia
Presidente de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos del D.F.
Lic. Celia Marín Sasaki
Juez del Juzgado 30
We, the undersigned are members of the Support Committee to Free Víctor Herrera
Govea, family members, comrades and friends, libertarian anarchists, collectives that
are both adherents and non-adherents to the Other Campaign, students at the UNAM,
UAM, IPN, National School of Music, colleges and high schools, teachers and
researchers, residents of Mexico City and other states or countries, and people in
solidarity who, having heard what happened on October 2, 2009 at the 41st
commemorative march of the massacre at Tlatelolco, hereby express our outrage over
the events detailed below:
1. During the march, a group of infiltrators damaged and robbed the OXXO convenience
store located at the corner of Eje Central and República de Cuba. In a number of videos
taken at different points in the march, these individuals can be seen provoking
confrontations with the police. It’s strange to see how freely they move along in
different contingents without being arrested a single time, strongly suggesting that they
have police protection.
2. Furthermore, during the march, riot police formed a double cordon around the
anarchist, libertarian contingent, with the purpose of isolating it and impeding its arrival
at the Zócalo, beating and making arbitrary arrests of the “encapsulated” people. For the
second consecutive year, this situation reveals the government’s purposeful repression
and criminalization of social protest, with an emphasis on the anarchist struggle, which
gave rise to last year’s human rights demands specifying illegal arrests of people in this
same group. This leads us to believe that another provocation was prepared against this
same group of young people, resulting in 26 arrests. Most of them were minors who
were later released, but four people are still in jail and proceedings have started against
them. None of the accused participated in the robbery or in damaging the store; they
don’t appear in any of the videos. Their names are Joaquín López Ochoa, Miguel Ángel
Martínez, Jaime Cortés Fones, and Víctor Herrera Govea. Victor is a philosophy
student, anarchist, adherent to the Other Campaign, and a person with a commitment to
the social struggles in the country and to winning freedom for political prisoners. Prior
to the march, he participated in the camp outside the Molino de Flores Prison in support
of 12 people unjustly held prisoner since 2006. He also participated in an urban
agriculture project in Xochimilco.
3. During the police encirclement near the Fine Arts Palace on Eje Central, Víctor Herrera
Govea was brutally beaten by the riot police. The fact that this was filmed by members
of the contingent functioned as pressure on the police to release him at that time. Two
hours later, however, he was illegally arrested with extreme violence by eight
plainclothes judicial police. This makes it clear that Victor was doubly tortured, once
during the encirclement and during his arrest. It also shows that he is innocent and that
the operation was planned to repress and frame young anarchists, and discredit the
march. All of this was done with the complicity of the scandal sheets (La Prensa, El
Metro, Ovaciones) and the major TV stations (Televisa, TV Azteca, Canal 40), all of
which cast scorn on the social movements that struggle for a more just world, first by
manipulating the facts and then by making them invisible to the public.
4. For these reasons we demand:
a) That, in keeping with international treaties signed and ratified by Mexico and a human
rights situation now experienced in Mexico that has prompted our deepest anger
and outrage, a fair, thoroughgoing investigation be immediately opened to identify the
causes of the facts described above and to delineate the responsibility of the Mexico
City government;
b) That Víctor Herrera Govea be immediately released due to the lack of evidence against
him;
c) That his physical and psychological integrity be guaranteed;
d) That his judicial security be guaranteed, instead of continuing to arbitrarily enforce a
rule of law that fosters the criminalization of the social protest.
e) That, based on Article 8 of the Constitution of Mexico and in accord with the necessary
faculties and jurisdiction for doing so, action be taken to investigate the previously
described events and that we be informed of the actions the government decides to take
to resolve the situation; likewise, we ask that the results of this investigation be made
public and that those responsible for the events be brought to justice.
f) That the National Human Rights Commission, CNDH, take action with regards to the
serious human rights violations committed against Víctor Herrera Govea, given that
these go beyond the sphere of the Mexico City government and are of national and
international importance, and that the Commission recommend measures for his
protection.
For all of the above reasons, we reiterate our demand and urge you to comply with the
provisions established in the Mexican Constitution and international agreements signed
by the Mexican government having to do with human rights and the application of
justice, and to bring an end to repression and the criminalization of social protest

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3 Responses »

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