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New arrest and judicial harassment against woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández

Status: 
Arrested & Harassed
About the situation

On 8 April 2021, the lawyers of woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván reported that her health has significantly deteriorated, as a result of the unsanitary conditions she is subjected to in the maximum security prison Centro Federal de Readaptación Social Femenil (CEFERESO) No. 16, in the municipality of Coatlán, in Morelos state, where she has been detained since October 2020.

On 27 February 2021, woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván was notified that the first of three cases opened against her over the course of the past year, has advanced to oral proceedings, while the second has advanced to the examination of evidence. The first investigation relates to charges of “aggravated robbery”, and the second to charges of “violent robbery”. The next hearing for the third case, on charges of “attacks on public roads”, will take place on 29 March 2021.

On 25 October 2020, the General Attorney Office (FGR) requested a new warrant for the arrest of woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández, on charges of “attacks on public roads”. On the same day, the defender was transferred to the facilities of the FGR in Acapulco where her judicial hearing on the new charge took place.

On 18 October 2020, woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván was detained at a toll booth on the Amozoc highway in the state of Puebla by unidentified police officers. The defender has been transferred to prison and is reportedly facing charges of robbery with violence.

About Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván

Kenia MontalvanKenia Inés Hernández Montalván is the coordinator of Zapata Vive, a peasant movement that defends land rights, collective identity and promotes different forms of peaceful resistance against development models with a neoliberal approach imposed by the Mexican State. She is also a leader of the National Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners.

13 April 2021
Concern for the health of imprisoned woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván

On 8 April 2021, the lawyers of woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván reported that her health has significantly deteriorated, as a result of the unsanitary conditions she is subjected to in the maximum security prison Centro Federal de Readaptación Social Femenil (CEFERESO) No. 16, in the municipality of Coatlán, in Morelos state, where she has been detained since October 2020.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván is a land and indigenous peoples' rights defender and coordinator of the Zapata Vive Libertarian Collective, which promotes different forms of peaceful resistance to neo-liberal development models imposed by the Mexican state. At the time of writing, there are seven cases open against the woman human rights defender based on fabricated allegations against her, in reprisal for her human rights work.

On 1 April 2021, Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván informed the Judge of Control in Acapulco, Guerrero that she was suffering from a fever, a headache, stomach aches, chills and general body pain. The judge reportedly requested information from the detention centre as to the woman human rights defender’s condition. Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván reported that she believes the ailments she is suffering from are caused by the poor sanitary conditions of the detention centre where she is being held, where she has had to drink non potable water and eat food of poor quality and low nutritional value since October 2020.

Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván’s legal defence team reported that after several requests, the medical attention she has received for these ailments has so far been insufficient. The woman human rights defender was seen by a doctor in the detention centre, who ruled out the possibility that she had contracted COVID-19 and concluded that Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván was suffering from a stomach virus, reportedly contracted from bacteria in the food in the detention centre. The woman human rights defender has not received medication to combat the virus, only painkillers. Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván reports that the food and water she continues to be provided in the detention centre do not meet minimum health requirements.

Front Line Defenders is deeply concerned for Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván’s health and well-being as a result of the poor sanitary conditions in the maximum security detention centre where she is being held, particularly concerning given that the woman human rights defender has been detained on fabricated charges in attempts to criminalise her legitimate and peaceful activities in defence of the rights of peasant communities. Front Line Defenders reiterates its concern regarding the practice of levying baseless allegations against human rights defenders, which has become an effective strategy to intimidate those working for the promotion and protection of human rights in Mexico.

10 March 2021
Advancement of legal proceedings in three cases against Kenia Inés Hernandez Montalván

On 27 February 2021, woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván was notified that the first of three cases opened against her over the course of the past year, has advanced to oral proceedings, while the second has advanced to the examination of evidence. The first investigation relates to charges of “aggravated robbery”, and the second to charges of “violent robbery”. The next hearing for the third case, on charges of “attacks on public roads”, will take place on 29 March 2021. Currently, Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván is detained in the maximum security prison, Centro Federal de Readaptación Social Femenil (CEFERESO) No. 16, in the municipality of Coatlán, Morelos state, where she has been held in pre-trial detention since October 2020.

On 6 June 2020, Kenia Inés Hernández was arbitrarily detained while peacefully demonstrating at a toll booth in Hortaliza-Valle de Bravo in the State of Mexico. She remained in preventive detention until 11 June 2020, when she appeared before a judge of the Control Court of the Ecatepec Judicial District and was charged with "aggravated robbery", and conditionally released. In the nine months since she was released from detention, the case has advanced to the oral trial stage, however the Prosecutor's Office has not yet presented the alleged victims, alleging that they are afraid to come forward.

 

On 18 October 2020, Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván was arrested a second time at the Amozoc toll booth in the state of Puebla by around 22 police officers, and escorted by 20 police cars. The officers did not inform the woman human rights defender of the reason for her arrest or the charges against her. Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván’s whereabouts were unknown until the following morning, 19 October, when it was announced that she was being held in the Social Readaptation Centre of Santiaguito, located in Almoloya de Juarez in the state of Mexico. The woman human rights defender was charged with “violent robbery”.

On 25 October 2020, hours before the woman human rights defender was due to be conditionally released, the General Attorney Office (FGR) requested a new arrest warrant be issued against her for the alleged crime of “attacks on public roads”. As a result, Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván was not released as scheduled, and that evening was transferred to CEFERESO No.16, where she has remained in pre-trial detention since. The investigation has now advanced to the examination of evidence, the next hearing for which is due to take place on 29 March 2021, and will be held in Almoloya de Juárez, in the State of Mexico.

29 October 2020
Federal judicial harassment and re-arrest of woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández

On 25 October 2020, the General Attorney Office (FGR) requested a new warrant for the arrest of woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández, on charges of “attacks on public roads”. On the same day, the defender was transferred to the facilities of the FGR in Acapulco where her judicial hearing on the new charge took place.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván is the coordinator of Colectivo Libertario Zapata Vive, a peasant social movement that defends land rights, collective identity, and promotes different forms of peaceful resistance against neoliberal development models imposed by the Mexican State. She is also one of the leaders of the National Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners

On 25 October 2020, the FGR requested a new arrest warrant for Kenia Inés Hernández, this time of a federal nature, for the alleged crime of “attacks on public roads”. The arrest warrant was accepted by a Specialised District Judge of the Accusatory Criminal System at the Federal Criminal Justice Centre of the State of Guerrero. Although the defender was due to be released on precautionary measures on 25 October, she was re-arrested from the Social Readaptation Centre of Santiaguito, in Almoloya de Juarez, hours before her scheduled release.

On the evening of 25 October, the woman human rights defender was transferred to the facilities of the FGR in Acapulco, where her judicial hearing on the charge of “assault on public roads” took place. The hearing was held in Acapulco, Guerrero despite the fact that the attorney for the defender, Antonio Lara, who is president of the human rights organisation Zeferino Ladrillero, warned in a public statement that the defender was in serious danger in Guerrero. Last year, Kenia Inés Hernández had to be relocated from the Guerrero by the Protection Mechanism for Defenders and Journalists, after being threatened by paramilitary groups that operate in Guerrero.

During the hearing, her lawyer was requested an extension to prepare evidence proving the defender’s innocence, and a new hearing has been set for 31 October 2020. At 7:30 p.m. on 25 October, the defender was transferred to Social Readaption Centre 16 of Morelos, a maximum security prison run by federal authorities located in the municipality of Coatlán del Río de Morelos.

This is the third time that Kenia Inés Hernández has been detained and judicially harassment in a period of five months. On 18 October 2020, she was detained at the Amozoc toll booth in the State of Puebla by unidentified police officers, and charged with “violent robbery”. At the time she was traveling back to Puebla in the company of nine peasants, after holding a meeting on land rights and dispossession. There was no news of her whereabouts until the morning of 19 October, when her lawyer received information that she had been transferred to the Social Readaptation Centre of Santiaguito. Her arrest came after Autovías Concesionadas Mexiquenses S.A. de C.V. filed a complaint following a peaceful protest on 15 February 2020 at the Hortaliza-Valle de Bravo toll booth in the State of Mexico. On 24 October 2020, after setting bail at 30 thousand pesos (approx 1,200 EUR), a control judge of the State of Mexico determined that Kenia Inés Hernández would be released the following day under precautionary measures.

On 6 June 2020, Kenia Inés Hernández was arbitrarily detained while she was peacefully demonstrating at the Hortaliza-Valle de Bravo toll booth in the State of Mexico, to demand the release of political prisoners from the State of Guerrero. She was held in preventive detention in the Chiconautla prison in Ecatepec until 11 June 2020, when she appeared before a judge of the Control Court of the Ecatepec Judicial District. She was released, handed down three precautionary measures and charged with "aggravated robbery".

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned about the multiple irregularities in due process and judicial harassment in the case of woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández. Her most recent arrest, this time of a federal nature, adds to the series of harassment and acts of criminalisation that she has faced since 6 June 2020 and reaffirms the intention to stigmatise Kenia Inés Hernández for her human rights work. Front Line Defenders believes that these attacks are in retaliation for her legitimate and peaceful activities in defence of the rights of peasant and indigenous communities and could be part of a strategy to intimidate all those who work for human rights in Mexico.

19 October 2020
New arrest and judicial harassment against woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández

On 18 October 2020, woman human rights defender Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván was detained at a toll booth on the Amozoc highway in the state of Puebla by unidentified police officers. The defender has been transferred to prison and is reportedly facing charges of robbery with violence.

Download the Urgent Appeal

Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván is the coordinator of Zapata Vive, a peasant movement that defends land rights, collective identity and promotes different forms of peaceful resistance against development models with a neoliberal approach imposed by the Mexican State. She is also a leader of the National Movement for the Freedom of Political Prisoners.

On 18th October 2020, Kenia Inés Hernández Montavlán was arrested at 8:45 pm at a toll booth in Amozoc, Puebla by a group of 22 police officers (20 male and 2 female officers) escorted by 20 police cars. The police officers where in uniforms however they showed no identification and did not present a warrant, they only said they where members of the National Guard. They confiscated various mobile phones and physically attacked some of the individuals who were with her. They gave no details about the charges she was facing or where they were taking her. Until the morning of Monday 19 October there were no news about her whereabouts. She is now facing charges of robbery with violence and under detention in the Social Readaptation Centre of Santiaguito located at Almoloya de Juarez, in the state of Mexico.

Kenia Inés Hernández Montavláne reported that she was harassed and followed by an individual after her participation in demonstrations that started on October 12 called by members of the Otomí indigenous community outside the premises of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI) in Mexico City, to demand respect for the Rights of indigenous peoples. Kenia Inés Hernández Montavláne has been previously subjected to arbitrary detention and judicial harassment. On 6 June 2020 the defender was arbitrarily detained while peacefully demonstrating near the Hortaliza-Valle de Bravo toll in the State of Mexico. She was held in preventive detention in Chiconautla prison in Ecatepec until 11 June 2020.

Front Line Defenders is seriously concerned about the recent detention of Kenia Inés Hernández, which adds to the harassment and criminalisation she has been facing in the past months. Front Line Defenders believes that these attacks are in reprisal for her legitimate and peaceful activities in defence of the rights of peasants and indigenous communities and may be part of a strategy to intimidate those who work to defend and promote human rights in Mexico.