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U.S. citizens arrested for asking Oaxaca governor about Brad Will's murder
by jlaw
Sunday Jan 31st, 2010 12:35 AM
Three U.S. tourists and one Uruguayan citizen were arrested in Oaxaca City on Thursday January 28 after approaching Ulises Ruiz in the city's zocalo and asking him about the murder of Indymedia activist Brad Will.

Press Release Oaxaca January 30, 2010

On Thursday January 28, at around 9 p.m. Andrea Caraballo, Guadalupe Rodriguez Lopez, James Wells and Jennifer Lawhorne were eating ice cream in the zocalo of Oaxaca. At that time, one of us recognized the face of the governor of Oaxaca who was about nine feet away from us. As a friend of Brad Will, a U.S. journalist who was killed in Oaxaca in 2006, one of us took advantage of the governor's presence to ask him about the case of Mr. Will, which to this day remains unresolved. We didn't receive a response from the governor who continued walking and we continued strolling in the zocalo with our ice creams. Five minutes later, between six and eight police agents, some in official uniform and others dressed in plainclothes, surrounded us, demanding to see our identifications and made us walk with them to a municipal police truck. While the police forced us to get into the back of the truck, we asked them why they were taking us away and to where they were going to take us. The police refused to give us any information. We were actually very afraid and worried for our safety.

After traveling for half an hour, we arrived at the police headquarters of Santa Maria Coyotepec, located outside of the Oaxaca city limits.. Once we entered, the police took photographs of us and asked us questions. We demanded the presence of an attorney, which was denied by the police officials. We spent an hour there surrounded by police, faces covered with ski masks, who humiliated and threatened us. Later, the police put us once again in the police truck and without telling us to where we were going, we left the headquarters. The truck stopped about half a block away from the state General Procuradaria of Justice (PGJO in its letters in Spanish), the police ordered us to leave our belongings in the darkness of the street and when we refused to do that, they insisted by threatening us for half an hour while recording us with video. After entering the offices of the PGJO, the police ordered us to leave our belongings with them and that we make a declaration one by one without the presence of an attorney. We remained firm that we weren't going to do anything until our attorney arrived.

After waiting for more than an hour, we were taken to a room where we supposedly were going to make a call to our lawyer. While in the room, a police officer read to us a document explaining our charges and to our surprise we were accused of scuffling and causing harm to two police agents. In that document, our arrest was ordered and without making the call to our lawyer, we were pushed and dragged out of the room, while twisting the wrist of one of us. That's how we were taken to the jail cells at 12:30 in the morning. At 1:30, we were allowed to see a lawyer, Jesus Alfredo Lopez Garcia, who we agreed to be our legal representative. From then on we knew that were going to spend the night in jail. Throughout the night, the police continued to intimidate us, asking us why we were there. We continued to state that we didn't do anything to cause our incarceration because we never committed any crime. Confused, we did our best to sleep on the cold jail floor.

The next day, Friday January 29, we learned that the gravity of charges that had been filed against us had increased. One of us was taken to make a statement when she learned that we were being accused of assaulting two police officers and damaging a police radio valued at about $3000 (USD). We continued to demand our right to not make a statement. At around 4 p.m., our attorney informed us that for a lack of evidence, we were going to be set free without charges and without having to pay bail, under the provision of passing through a review with officials from National Immigration Institute. Upon arrival at the federal immigration offices located in the center of the city, we presented our passports and visas and shortly we were allowed to walk free.

After learning about the situation, the U.S. consul, Mark Leyes, invited us to visit him at his office the same evening and told us that he was sorry for what had happened to us. We would like to thank the attorney Jesus Alfredo Lopez Garcia from the Mexican Protectorate for Human Rights, our friends and family members for all of their support and care.

Andrea Caraballo, Guadalupe Rodriguez Lopez Jennifer Lawhorne and Jimmy Wells

§Encarcelado en Oaxaca por hacer una pregunta a Ulises Ruiz
by una mala noche en oaxaca Sunday Jan 31st, 2010 11:49 AM
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Oaxaca, Sábado 30 de enero de 2010

Comunicado de prensa

El día jueves 28 de enero como alrededor de las 9:00 de la noche, Andrea Caraballo, Guadalupe Rodriguez Lopez, James Wells y Jennifer Lawhorne, nos encontrábamos en el zócalo de Oaxaca comiendo un helado. En ese momento, uno de nosotros reconoció al gobernador que estaba a menos de 3 metros de nosotros. Siendo un amigo de Brad Will un periodista estadounidense asesinado en el 2006, uno de nosotros aprovechó del momento en que el gobernador estaba cerca para preguntarle sobre el caso de Brad Will que hasta la fecha no ha tenido solución. No recibimos una respuesta el gobernador siguió su camino y seguimos de paseo con nuestros helados en el zócalo. Cinco minutos después, entre seis y ocho policías, algunos oficiales vestidos de civil y otros uniformados, nos rodearon y nos solicitaron nuestras identificaciones y nos hicieron acompañarles a una patrulla camioneta de la policía municipal. Nos forzaron a subir en la patrulla, preguntábamos porque y adonde nos estaban llevando. Se negaron en todo momento a informados porque nos detenían y adonde nos llevaban. Realmente estábamos muy asustados y preocupados por nuestra seguridad.

Luego de viajar durante media hora llegamos al cuartel de policía en Santa María Coyotepec a las afueras de Oaxaca. Entramos, nos tomaron fotografías y nos hicieron preguntas. Exigimos la presencia de un abogado a lo cual nos fue negado. Pasamos una hora ahí rodeados por policías encapuchados que nos humillaron y amenazaron. Luego nos subieron otra vez a la patrulla y sin decirnos adonde íbamos, salimos del cuartel. Pararon a una media cuadra de la Procuraduría General de Justicia estatal, nos ordenaban dejar nuestras pertenencias en la oscuridad de la calle y cuando negamos hacer eso, nos insistían mientras que nos grabaron con una pequeña cámara de video. Nos llevaron adentro de las oficinas de la PGJ ordenando que dejáramos nuestras pertenencias con ellos y que declaráramos uno a uno aun sin la presencia de nuestro abogado. Nosotros seguimos firmes en que no haríamos nada hasta que nuestro abogado llegara. Luego de esperar mas de una hora nos condujeron a una habitación donde supuestamente nos iban a permitir hablar con nuestro abogado, en ese mostraron nos leyeron donde decía nuestros cargos y para nuestro asombro estábamos acusados de golpes y daños a dos agentes de la policía. En ese documento se ordenaba nuestro arresto y sin hacer la llamada a nuestro abogado nos empujaron y arrastraron torciendo la muñeca de una de las mujeres. Así fuimos llevados a las celdas, siendo en ese momento las 12:30 de la noche.

Recién siendo la 1:30 am pudimos ver al abogado Jesús Alfredo López García a quien reconocimos como nuestro defensor. A partir de ese momento supimos que ahí pasaríamos la noche. Todo el tiempo nos seguían intimidando y preguntando que habíamos echo para estar ahí, nosotros continuábamos diciendo que no hicimos nada para estar presos porque no cometimos ningún delito. Confundidos intentamos dormir en el frío suelo de la celda.

Al día siguiente, viernes 29 de enero, el expediente había crecido y los supuestos hechos habían incrementado, a una de nosotras la llevaron a declarar y conoció que los acusaban de agredir a 2 policías y dañar un equipo de radio de valor $35000.
Nosotros nos reservamos el derecho a no declarar. Alrededor de las 4 de la tarde nuestro abogado nos informo que por desvanecimiento de pruebas nos dejarían libres, sin pagar fianzas y sin cargos pero pasaríamos a disposición de las autoridades de migración. Al llegar a las oficinas de migración ubicadas en el centro de la capital, mostramos nuestros pasaportes y visado por lo cual sin contratiempos quedamos en libertad.

El cónsul de los Estados Unidos, Mark Leyes al enterarse de lo sucedido nos invitó a visitarlo a su oficina el mismo día y nos manifestó que lamenta que nos hallan sucedido este tipo de cosas.
Queremos agradecer al abogado Jesús Alfredo López García, Presidente del Protectorado Mexicano para los Derechos Humanos, a nuestros amigos y familiares por todo su apoyo y cariño manifestado.

Andrea Caraballo, Guadalupe Rodríguez López Jennifer Lawhorne y Jimmy Wells.