Posted 2012/4/18

Mexico: Death threats against human rights defender Ms Alba Cruz in Oaxaca

Ms Alba Cruz

On 13 and 14 April 2012 human rights defender and lawyer Ms Alba Cruz was subjected to death threats received to her mobile telephone.

Alba Cruz is a human rights lawyer with the Mexican organisation Comitè de defensa integral de derechos humanos Gobixha - Codigo DH (the Committee for the defence of human rights Gobixha).

She has been subjected to numerous death threats and episodes of harassment since 2010 due to her representation of victims of torture and abuse which occurred in the Mexican state of Oaxaca in 2006. To date no persons have been found responsible or brought to justice for carrying out the threats and intimidation against Alba Cruz.

On 14 April 2012 Alba Cruz received a text message on her mobile phone which read “Empieza ahora putos” (It starts now bitches). The previous day, at approximately 2pm, a message arrived to her phone in which she was warned “... quedas advertida te mueres junto con el por pendejos” (... be warned you will die with him you idiots). The message is believed to refer to Mr Marcelino Coache, trade unionist, former political prisoner and torture victim, whom she is currently representing. Prior to this event, on 30 March 2012, Alba Cruz was travelling from a meeting near Oaxaca when a grey truck, with registration plates from Mexico City, with three men on board attempted to hit her vehicle. When she attempted to take a photo of the men, the van sped away.

In the past six months, her client Marcelino Coache has been the victim of harassment, intimidation and defamation for his active participation in social movements in Oaxaca. Minutes after Alba Cruz received the second abovementioned message, Ms Reyna Rivera, wife of Marcelino Coache, received a threatening message on her mobile telephone, which stated: “Te lo advertimos se acuerdan o se hacen pendejos, ahora cuidense ya acabaron” (We're warning you, either remember or make idiots of yourselves, now take care of yourselves you're finished). On 14 April 2012 Marcelino Coache received a second threatening message. All of the messages were sent from the same mobile phone number.

Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern for the security of Alba Cruz in light of the threatening text message she received on 13 and 14 April 2012. Front Line Defenders believes that this and previous threats received by Alba Cruz are directly related to her peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights activities, in particular the provision of legal advice. Front Line Defenders is concerned at the failure to bring those responsible for threats against Alba Cruz to justice.

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