MEXICO: Journalist and family threatened; fears for safety
31 March 2009
The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN (WiPC) protests the threats issued against El Diario de los Altos editor Miguel Ángel Casillas in Jalisco State in March 2009. The threats allegedly come from ‘Los Zetas', a paramilitary criminal gang linked to drug traffickers, on behalf of a local politician, after the newspaper was critical of a dam project in the area. The WiPC is calling on the authorities to provide safety measures for Casillas, his family and other journalists at the newspaper and to carry out a full investigation into the threats.
The following is an urgent action alert issued by Amnesty International on 25 March 2009 (see http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR41/017/2009/en/c46b3840-6cb1-46e1-961f-fe4c5af4357a/amr410172009en.html). PEN members are asked to send appeals following the guidance given in the alert as a matter of urgency.
Mexico: Fear for safety: Miguel Angel Casillas Báez (m)
PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 41/017/2009
25 March 2009
UA 82/09 Fear for safety
MEXICO: Miguel Angel Casillas Báez (m), his family and other journalists of the newspaper, Diario de los Altos
Miguel Angel Casillas, editorial director of local newspaper, Diario de los Altos, was threatened on 18 March by a manclaiming to be an official in charge of the Zetas' department (a notoriously criminal organization responsible for hundreds of murders). The threat was made because Miguel Angel Casillas and the newspaper he works for have given critical coverage to a dam development project in el Zapotillo, Los Altos region, Jalisco state.
On 18 March, Miguel Angel Casillas received an anonymous call on his mobile from a mansaying "We know who you are, where you live, where you go, who your family are and we want to know how you are going to cooperate with us" (sabemos quién es usted, sabemos dónde vive, sabemos cómo se mueve, sabemos quién es su familia y queremos saber cómo piensa colaborar con nosotros). The caller insinuated that he was acting on the behalf of a politician who wished to damage Miguel Angel Casillas and added that "from this point on you and your family are at risk" (corre peligro a partir de ahora, usted y su familia).
The day before receiving the anonymous phonecall, Miguel Angel Casillas noticed that both his personal email and that of the newspaper he works for had been hacked. The hackers had left a message stating that "Today the email of the newspaper has been kidnapped. Careful what you publish we don't want to hurt anyone. Regards from Jalisco State Congress, from a friend that likes you a lot and is watching anxiously over you. Rightist Jalisco".(Hoy el secuestro fue del korreo elektonico del medio kuidado kon lo ke publican no keremos lastimar a nadie. Saludos desde el congreso de Jalisco de un amigo que te quiere mucho y te vigila con ansias de encontrarte. Yunque Jalisco)
Miguel Angel Casillas has submitted a official complaint with the Jalisco State Public Prosecutor's Office and the State Human Rights Commission.
The project to build el Zapotillo dam in Jalisco state on the Rio Verde has led to concern among local communities, particularly those of Temacapulín, Palmarejo and Acasico which will be flooded. Despite previous commitments by the state government to consult the public on the project, the Diario de los Altos and local human rights organizations have been critical of the project and the failure of the authorities to consult adequately with local communities or provide reliable and detailed information on impact and compensation packages.
- Calling for safety measure to be provided for Miguel Angel Casillas Báez, his family and other journalists at the Diario de los Altos and for protection measures to be implemented in accordance with their wishes;
- Call on the authorities to instigate a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation into the email and telephone threats against Miguel Angel Casillas, including any possible links to local politicians, for the results to be made public and for those responsible to be held to account;
- Calling on the authorities to fulfil their obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and ensure that human rights defenders have a right to carry out their activities without any restrictions or fear of reprisals.
APPEALS TO:Governor of JaliscoEmilio González MárquezGobernador del Estado de JaliscoPalacio de Gobierno,Av. Corona No. 31, Planta BajaCol. CentroGuadalajara C.P. 44100Estado de JaliscoMÉXICOFax: (+52 33) 36 48 1601/02Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgSalutation: Dear Governor/ Señor Gobernador
Attorney General of JaliscoLic. Tomás Coronado OlmosProcurador del Estado de JaliscoProcuraduría General de Justicia del EstadoCalle 14 no. 2567Colonia Zona IndustrialGuadalajara, C.P. 44940Estado de JaliscoMÉXICOSalutation: Dear Attorney/ Señor Procurador
Minister of InteriorLic. Fernando Francisco Gómez-Mont UruetaSecretaría de GobernaciónBucareli 99, 1er. piso,Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc,México D.F., C.P.06600, MEXICOFax: +52 55 5093 3414E-mail: email@example.comSalutation: Señor Secretario/Dear Minister
COPIES TO:Human Rights organizationInstituto Mexicano Para el Desarrollo Comunitario (IMDEC), A.CA.C. Pino 2237-A, Col. del Fresno, Guadalajara, Jalisco C.P 44900Mexico
Human Rights Commission of JaliscoLic. Felipe de Jesús Álvarez Cibrián, Presidente de la Comisión Estatal de Derechos Humanos de Jalisco,Pedro Moreno No. 1616,Col. Americana, Guadalajara C.P. 44160, Estado de Jalisco,MÉXICO , Fax: (+52 33) 36 69 11 01, Salutation: Dear President/ Señor Presidente
and to diplomatic representatives of Mexico accredited to your country.
***Please send appeals immediately. Check with International PEN if sending appeals after 6 May 2009.***
For further details please contact Tamsin Mitchell at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: International PEN, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: firstname.lastname@example.org