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Judges of the Twenty First Circuit Appellate Court in Tuxtla Gtz., Mexico: Free Political Prisoner Alberto Patishtán

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This month the Mexican legal system will decide if the political prisoner Alberto Patishtán is to be freed or will remain in prison for 48 more years.

Patishtán is a Tzotzil indigenous schoolteacher, who was politically active in his community until he was arrested on June 19th 2000 and unjustly sentenced to 60 years in prison. While incarcerated, he continues to fight for justice, organizing prisoners to demand humane conditions inside the prisons of Mexico. The Mexican government tried to put an end to this struggle by isolating him in a maximum security prison where he suffered various forms of torture. Thanks to the intervention of civil society a year later, he was returned to a prison closer to his family. Patishtán was awarded the “jCanan Lum Prize” in recognition of his struggle for "social transformation in a peaceful manner". His home community continues to demand his freedom to this day.

Patishtán suffers from a brain tumor that is causing him to loose his vision. Although he underwent surgery six months ago, the conditions within the prison do not allow for his recovery.

In spite of all this, he has not given up and continues to struggle. When his case reached the Supreme Court in Mexico, one of the judges publicly stated that Patishtán is innocent and should be released immediately. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court ended up sending his case to another court which will decide this month whether or not he will be released. This will be his final opportunity. The Mexican judicial system, however, is discriminatory in general and Patishtán is indigenous. Therefore, public support is vital to see that justice is finally achieved and Patishtán is freed.

Patishtán is currently fasting inside the prison and is calling on civil society to speak out to demand his freedom.

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