We were advised tonight that Spokeswoman Estela Luna Perez’s father, Bartolo Luna was liberated from El Amate prison after serving 13 years of a 36 years sentence for the Acteal Massacre, on trumped up charges.
On December 22nd, 1997, a group of Pro Zapatista sympathizers Las Abejas was attacked and 45 Tzotziles, mostly women and children were brutally killed. Almost 120 Tzotziles were rounded up in the following days when the pro Zapatistas started pointing fingers and identifying a long list of neighbors or Indigenas from surrounding areas who were not part of the movement, political party, or majority religion.
86 were convicted over the years, half of them evangelical believers who insisted they were innocent scapegoats in a plan to rid the highlands of political and religious opposition. The Christians were considered to be “throwaways”, and less likely able to provide a defence for themselves.
The Mexican government on various levels was accused of facilitating the arrests and sentences to end the scandal quickly and hide any part or fault they may have had in planning the attack or in causing it by ignoring signs of unrest and violence growing in the area between groups.
The prisoners familes ended up being more and more isolated, and ended up the last several years with little pastoral care.They invested much of their time in calling attention to the lot of their men, and maintaining the properties their men had left behind.
In August of 2009, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the evidence used to convict the prisoners was manufactured, falsified, and that the process was full of human rights abuses.
The survivors, the Zapatistas, and the Catholic Liberation Theology proponents in Chiapas have insisted that all the prisoners without exception were guilty and that only the government authors of the crime were still free.That would mean that if only one of the prisoners is innocent that the case against all of them is suspect.
There are now only 35 prisoners left in jail… we have been praying for their release before 2010 ends. Please pray for true JUSTICE… and that the Holy Spirit bring hope, reconciliation, and peace to the Highlands of Chiapas…
The threat of violence and another massacre is still very real as long as anyone clings to the idea of vengeance or justice based on evidence that has been corrupted…