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Mexico: Kidnapping and reported torture of Mr José Enrique Morales Montaño, followed by death threats received by fellow HRD Ms Blanca Velázquez Díaz, and also by his wife
On 16 and 17 May 2012, human rights defender Ms Blanca Velázquez Díaz, and the wife of human rights defender Mr José Enrique Morales Montaño, received text messages containing death threats.
These messages were received following the kidnapping and reported torture of José Enrique Morales Montaño on 15 May 2012, during which he was held for seventeen hours and threatened. Blanca Velázquez Díaz is Director of Centro de Apoyo al Trabajador - CAT (Workers Support Centre), a prominent non-governmental organisation that promotes labour rights in Mexico, of which José Enrique Morales Montaño is also a member.
On 16 May 2012, at approximately 5.30pm, Blanca Velázquez Díaz received a text message which read: "You are going to die, bitch", sent from José Enrique Morales Montaño's mobile phone. On 17 May 2012, his wife received the following text messages: "Your family is in danger and the next one will be one of your children as they are not safe yet", "The next one is you, damn you".
On 15 May 2012, at approximately 1.00pm, José Enrique Morales Montaño had been kidnapped by four masked men in a truck, while on his way to a meeting with a group of textile workers in the city of Puebla in central Mexico. He was threatened and intimidated for seventeen hours, a gun was put to his head several times and his life, and the lives of other CAT members, were threatened. At approximately 5.00am on 16 May, the perpetrators stole his mobile phone and backpack from him, and left him on an abandoned highway in the direction of Veracruz. José Enrique Morales Montaño, although seriously injured, managed to make his way home where he raised the alert.
These incidents form part of an ongoing campaign of harassment, intimidation and threats against labour rights defenders and CAT members. In 2010, the Comision Nacional de Derechos Humanos (National Human Rights Commission) and the Comision Estatal de Derechos Humanos de Puebla – CEDH (Puebla State Human Rights Commission) informed the Mexican authorities of the need to provide protection to CAT workers. The CEDH subsequently suspended this protection.
Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity and security of José Enrique Morales Montaño, as well as that of his family, and Blanca Velázquez Díaz, and believes that the kidnapping and reported torture of José Enrique Morales Montaño, as well as the subsequent death threats, to be directly related to their peaceful and legitimate activities in the defence of human rights in Mexico, particularly the rights of workers.