Case History: Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz
On 21 August 2015 Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, was released after having been incarcerated for fourteen months.
On 17 June 2014 human rights defender Marco Antonio Suástegui was detained by members of the Ministerial Police of the Attorney General of Justice of Guerrero State. According to the information received, police threatened Marco Antonio Suástegui and used physical violence during the arrest.
Marco Antonio Suástegui is a human rights defender and leader of the Consejo de Ejidos y Comunidades Opositores a la Presa La Parota – CECOP (Council of Communal Lands and Communities Opposing the La Parota Dam), which is fighting to protect the Papagayo River in Mexico. For his peaceful work, Mr Suástegui has been detained, threatened, and beaten by members of the Ministerial Police.
On 23 June 2014, 52 organisations and individuals sent a joint letter regarding the detention of environmental human rights defender Mr Marco Antonio Suástegui to four members of the Mexican and Guerrero State Government: Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, Secretary for the Interior, Ángel Heladio Aguirre Rivero, Governor of Guerrero State, Jesús Martínez Garnelo, Secretary of the Government of Guerrero State, and Leonardo Octavio Vázquez Pérez, Secretary for Public Security and Public Safety of Guerrero State. Please find the text of the letter below.
The 52 organizations and persons signatory to this letter, which work for the protection of human rights and the environment, address you in order to express our deep concern at the detention of Mr Marco Antonio Suástegui, leader of the Consejo de Ejidos y Comunidades Opositores a la Presa La Parota – CECOP (Council of Communal Lands and Communities Opposing the La Parota Dam), on 17 June by members of the Ministerial Police of the Attorney General of Justice of Guerrero State.
According to the information received, Mr Suástegui was detained by members of the Ministerial Police by means of violence and threats, and transferred twice, apparently in violation of due process. Additionally, our organizations have been made aware of strong indications of violations of the rights of Mr Suástegui, such as his having been severely beaten. For these reasons, we request that urgent measures be taken to secure his integrity, his right to a defence, and that the State refrain from harassing those who dedicate themselves to legitimate activities in the defence of human rights and the environment.
The detention directly affects the work undertaken by Mr Marco Antonio Suástegui in the defence of human rights and environmental issues. In that regard, the Mexican State has the obligation to respect and guarantee human rights and to protect human rights defenders, especially those who are at particular risk, such as environmental rights defenders. International human rights bodies, including the Special Rapporteurs on freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations, have recognised the context of threats and harassments that exists for those who defend human rights in Mexico, including environmental rights, calling on the State to guarantee the rights of these persons and their free exercise.
Accordingly, the signatories below call upon the Mexican State to take effective and urgent measures to guarantee the human rights of Mr Suástegui and the important work that the human rights defender performs in defence of the Papagayo River. In particular, we consider it fundamental that the State:
- Take measures to ensure that the competent authorities guarantee the right to a defence and due process of Mr Marco Antonio Suástegui, and reverse any action taken in the detention procedure and past transfers that tainted by illegalities,
- Take measures to guarantee his physical and psychological integrity, and
- Take all necessary measures to secure the work for the defence of human rights and the environment undertaken by Marco Antonio Suástegui, and take an active role in avoiding any act that hinders the actions taken to defend the Papagayo River.
Front Line Defenders
Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente (AIDA)
Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional (CEJIL)
Equipo Regional de Monitoreo y Análisis de Derechos Humanos en Centroamérica
JASS, Asociadas por lo Justo
Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD)
Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (FUNDEPS)
Oficina Jurídica para la Mujer de Cochabamba
Associação Juízes para a Democracia (AJD/Brasil)
Fiscalía del Medio Ambiente (FIMA)
Defensa de Niñas y Niños – Internacional (DNI)
Iglesia Luterana Costarricense (ILCO)
Justicia para la Naturaleza
Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM)
Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU)
Corporación de Gestión y Derecho Ambiental ECOLEX
Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho (FESPAD)
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights
Fundacion Myrna Mack
Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo de Guatemala (GAM)
Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala (ICCPG)
Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos (UDEFEGUA)
Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO)
Centro de Desarrollo Humano (CDH)
Centro de Investigación y Promoción de Derechos Humanos (CIPRODEH)
Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación/Radio Progreso
Abogadas y Abogados para la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos
Asistencia Legal por los Derechos Humanos (ASILEGAL)
Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, A.C.
Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (CENIDH)
Centro de Incidencia Ambiental (CIAM)
Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos de Panamá (CONADEHUPA)
Ágora Espacio Civil
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH)
Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, red de 81 organizaciones en Perú
Centro de Derechos y Desarrollo (CEDAL)
Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Sociedad (IIDS)
GAIA Derecho Ambiental
Acción Solidaria en VIH/Sida
Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello
CIVILIS Derechos Humanos
Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos (Provea)
Sinergia, Asociación Nacional de Organizaciones de Sociedad Civil
Luz Marina Monzón, Colombia
Gerardo Tallavas, México
Delphine Djiraibe, Chad