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Protect the life of gay school principal, Prof. Agustín Estrada Negrete!

This petition had 366 supporters

The worst nightmare for a queer person became reality for Prof. Agustín Estrada on May 7th, 2009. He was arrested and beaten by the police in Mexico, and then taken to the federal maximum security prison where he was sexually abused. His story began two years ago, when as the director of a school for children with disabilities, he was invited by a local human rights group to the International Day Against Homophobia celebration. He wore a red dress, emulating a character from the movie The Birdcage, walking along with his mother during the parade. The image appeared in  local papers, which prompted some teachers to denounce Estrada Negrete as a dangerous person for the children he taught at the CAM.

A few days later, the undersecretary of Elementary Education in the State of Mexico, offered Estrada Negrete a one-year-leave. During that year, parents and students organized 17 rallies asking the authorities to reinstate Agustín Estrada Negrete as director of the CAM.

As a result of the protests, the Deputy Secretary General of State scheduled a meeting to resolve the issue. Estrada Negrete arrived, followed by his lawyer Jaime López Vela, a LGBT activist, as well as parents and students that support the professor. At the same time, police corps arrived in order to stop any attempt of the group to talk to the governor in front of the TV cameras that were already placed in front of the municipal building.

Entrance was allowed only to Estrada Negrete. When he asked for the presence of his lawyer, parents and students suddenly realized that the lawyer/activist was already being beaten inside a patrol car. Estrada Negrete tried to run towards the vehicle, but several cops stopped him and beat him and other protesters – among them, mothers and children.

Estrada Negrete was taken to the basement of the building of the Ministry of Justice., where he was tortured by police. His lawyer received the same treatment, although separately. After an entire day of physical assaults, Estrada Negrete was taken to a maximum security prison where drug cartel leaders, kidnappers, and murderers share space. There, the torture and humiliation continued, until an anonymous con man handed a phone card to Professor Estrada and informed him that other prisoners were planning to kill him.

Fortunately, Professor Estrada could call his sister. On May 8th, Estrada Negrete stepped out of Almoloya, after paying a $2000 fine. When he tried to formally complain about the sexual assault, authorities in charge said “We are not allowed to take any declaration from you”.

Today, Agustín Estrada is hiding in the United States, where he has received some help from the United Nations. Even though the UN accused the government of the State of Mexico of homophobia, torture, and sexual abuse, the action seems useless in face of a government that holds the second place for homophobic crimes in the whole country.

Please take action now and sign this petition to protect the life of Agustín!

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