- For defenders
- How can I help?
Mexico - Death threats against human rights defender Mr Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz
On 14 December 2009, human rights defender Mr Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz received a death threat at his home in Comitán de Comínguez, Chiapas. The threat came two days before he was due to testify at a hearing in order to identify a police officer who took part in a raid of his home. Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz is a member of the organisation “Connect, Communication and Training” (Enlace, Comunicación y Capacitación – Enlace CC). Enlace CC is a civil organisation with bases in Chiapas which works for sustainable development for indigenous people and rural workers in central and southern Mexico, incorporating human rights and gender equality as its guiding principles.
On 14 December at about 7.15pm, an anonymous note was left under the door of Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz's house in Comitán de Domínguez, which stated “Don't continue, you will die” (“No sigan se van a morir”). The note was found by Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz's daughter, who immediately took the note to her mother, Mrs Margarita Guadalupe Martínez Martínez. The threat came two days before a hearing for witnesses before the Public Ministry in which both Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz and Margarita Guadalupe Martínez Martínez were due to testify in order to identify one of the policemen who took part in a raid on their home in November 2009. As a result of the threat, neither of them attended the hearing.
On 8 November at about 3.30am, Adolgo Guzmán Ordaz's house was raided by the police while Margarita Guadalupe Martínez Martínez and their two young children were present. According to reports, 20 police officers entered the house using disproportionate force, threatening and pointing at Margarita Guadalupe Martínez Martínez to force her to show them each of the rooms in the house. At the same time, Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz was interrogated about his activities with Enlace CC. The police took photos and a video of the house and family.
According to official information, the police operation was ordered on the basis of arrest warrants for four persons, all leaders of different organisations “that dedicated themselves to blocking stretches of road, streets and avenues, in addition to demonstrating on government property”. (““que se dedican a bloquear tramos carreteros, calles y avenidas, así como manifestarse en los inmuebles del Gobierno”). The execution of the four warrants was carried out using 19 officers of the State Preventative Police (PEP), 10 officers from the Ministerial police, 20 from the Municipal Police of Comitán, and four agents from the Public Ministry.
On 10 November, Margarita Guadalupe Martínez Martínez saw one of the presumed perpetrators of the raid in a corridor of the Office of the Prosecutor for the Fronterizo Sierra District. Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz filed a complaint with Lic. Pedro Raúl López Hernández, the Special Prosecutor for the Protection of NGOs and Human Rights Defenders, who works under the auspice of the General Prosecutor of Chiapas. The complaint led to the initiation of an inquiry into the raid, torture and abuse of authority, which later included the death threat of 14 December. On 25 November, the couple found a note which said, “I am your neighbour. Last night five men were watching your house, take care please mind your children” (“Soy su vecino. Anoche estuvieron cinco hombres vigilando la casa, tengan cuidado por favor cuiden a sus hijos”). Since then the family has temporarily found another place to live.
Front Line believes that the threats against Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz, Margarita Guadalupe Martínez Martínez and their family, along with the raid of their home, are directly related to his work in the defence of human rights, in particular those of indigenous peoples and rural workers. Front Line is seriously concerned for the physical and psychological integrity and security of Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz, Margarita Guadalupe Martínez Martínez and their family.
Front Line urges the Mexican authorities to:
1.Carry out an immediate, impartial and thorough investigation into the threats that the family of Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz has received and the raid of their home in order to fully implement the inquiry begun by Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz with the Special Prosecutor for the Protection of NGOs and Human Rights Defenders, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2.Take all necessary measures to effectively and adequately ensure the physical and psychological integrity and security of Adolfo Guzmán Ordaz and his children;
3.Guarantee that all human rights defenders in Mexico, carrying out their legitimate work in the defence of human rights, are able to operate free of restrictions and reprisals.