Mexico Removes Migrants Who Staged Hunger Strike from Prison

Posted by admin on May 30th, 2011

Latin American Herald Tribune, May 30 2011

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS, Mexico – The 11 migrants who staged a 24-day hunger strike at a prison in Tapachula, a city in southern Mexico, have been released, human rights activists said. The migrants – nine Cubans, a Honduran and a Dominican – were caught in early May and sent to an immigration detention center.

The migrants started the hunger strike because they were transferred to the prison in Tapachula, a city in Chiapas state, after being accused of causing 110,000 pesos (about $9,000) in damage during a riot at the immigration center where they were being held.

The migrants were released on Saturday, but the Cubans and the Dominican were sent to an immigration detention center in the eastern state of Veracruz, while the Honduran was taken to the facility in Tapachula.

The migrants may be deported by Mexican authorities, human rights activists said.

The Chiapas Human Rights Council posted bond for the migrants, the Fray Matias de Cordova y Ordoñez Human Rights Center said in a statement released on Sunday.

The 10 migrants transferred to Veracruz were not told by the National Migration Institute, or INM, where they were being sent and human rights activists were not allowed to meet with them, the center said.

The INM decided to transfer the 10 migrants to another facility because it determined that Tapachula “lacked the conditions for them to remain” in light of their escape during the riot earlier this month, the center said.

Two of the nine Cubans were treated by doctors during the more than three weeks they were on hunger strikes, the center said.

The riot happened on May 4, when INM agents “entered the 20th Century Immigration Station installations to transfer the Cubans to Mexico City,” the center said last week.

Some of the migrants protested the transfer and a riot started, allowing nine people to escape amid the confusion.

Six of the migrants were captured a few minutes later and hauled before prosecutors along with seven others.

The migrants were sent to Tapachula after the INM accused them of damaging property, rioting and resisting arrest, but some of the charges were later dropped.

President Felipe Calderon signed legislation last Tuesday aimed at protecting migrants’ rights in Mexico.

An estimated 300,000 Central Americans and 400,000 Mexicans undertake the dangerours journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States.

Central American migrants follow a long route that takes them into Chiapas, which is on the border with Guatemala, walking part of the way or riding aboard freight trains, buses and cargo trucks.

The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.

The flow of migrants has increased markedly in the northern and northeastern parts of Mexico since U.S. officials increased security along the border in the northwestern part of the country.

Last month, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office, identified 71 cities in 16 of the country’s 32 states that are considered dangerous for Mexican and foreign migrants headed to the United States.

“Kidnappings, abuse, extortion, robberies and sexual attacks on migrants have been documented” in the 71 cities, the CNDH said in a statement.

About 20,000 Central Americans were kidnapped by organized crime groups, which extorted money from them or forced them to join their gangs, the CNDH said in a report released last year. EFE

Comments are closed.