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A Letter From The Catalan Four: Still Detained In Oaxaca, threatened & beaten!

Joe Cancer | 13.08.2007 20:58 | Oaxaca Uprising | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | London | World

This letter was received from the four Catalan detainees still incarcerated in Mexico DF.
First is the rough English translation, then the original Spanish. At the bottom is a list of authorities you can write to in order to assist in their release.
A previous article asked for no one to demonstrate, but to write to demand release:

A Letter to gather support

We are the four Catalans, Ariadna Grandson, journalist and anthropologist, Nuria Morelló, anthropologist and historian, Ramon Sesén, professor of computer science and Laia Serra, lawyer.

At 9:30pm on the night 5 August, 2007, we were assaulted by the paramilitary police while walking through the historical center of the city of Oaxaca, Mexico.

They loaded us into a vehicle and transferred us bent over [in stress position] and covered with a canvas for 15 minutes, they imprisoned us and locked us up for one hour in a darkroom where we received insults, blows, threats and sexual aggression to one of us took place, they forced to us to be with hands on the head or made to kneel [more stress positions], in addition they robbed our property, money and documentation [passports, immigration cards], then immediately transferred us to the migratory instances alleging we were undocumented [illegal] foreigners.

They have us locked up in an immigration detention centre in the City of Mexico DF, in spite of our protest.

On 7 August the Spanish Consulate issued us new passports but we did not receive them. We have been open with all the facts on which we have been victims and of all external advising.

We demanded our immediate release and the return of all our property, as well as that what purifies the responsibilities of the pertinent authorities.

We requested your support and denounce this charges against us.

Your support is our force.

Ariadna Nieto, Laia Serra, Nuria Morelló y Ramón Sesén

Carta para recoger firmas

Somos cuatro catalanes, Ariadna Nieto, periodista y antropóloga, Nuria
Morelló, antropóloga e historiadora, Ramón Sesén, profesor de
informática y Laia Serra, abogada. A las 9:30 de la noche del día 5 de
agosto de 2007 fuimos asaltados por elementos parapoliciales cuando
paseábamos por el centro histórico de la ciudad de Oaxaca, México. Estos
nos cargaron en un vehículo y nos trasladaron agachados y tapados con
una lona hasta un cuartel, allí nos encapucharon y nos tuvieron
encerrados una hora en un cuarto oscuro donde recibimos insultos,
golpes, amenazas y se produjo una agresión sexual a una compañera, nos
obligaron a estar con las manos en la cabeza o arrodillados, además nos
robaron las pertenencias, el dinero y la documentación, enseguida nos
trasladaron a las instancias migratorias alegando nuestra situación de
extranjeros indocumentados.

Nos tienen encerrados en un centro de internamiento de extranjeros de la
Ciudad de México, pese a nuestra manifiesta y acreditada instancia penal.

Desde el día 7 de agosto el cónsul español expidió unos nuevos
pasaportes y ni siquiera nos los han entregado. Hemos estado privados de
toda la información sobre los hechos de los que hemos sido víctimas y de
todo asesoramiento externo.

Exigimos nuestra inmediata puesta en libertad y que se nos devuelvan
nuestras pertenencias, así como que se depuren las responsabilidades de
las autoridades pertinentes.

Os pedimos vuestro apoyo, difusión y denuncia de nuestro caso.

Vuestro apoyo es nuestra fuerza.

Ariadna Nieto, Laia Serra, Nuria Morelló y Ramón Sesén
Enviar la firma a :

Consulado de México en Barcelona:
Paseo de la Bonanova 55, fax: 932009206, teléfono: 932011822

Embajada de México en España:

Embajada de España en México
Cancillería: Dirección: Galileo, 114 (esq. Horacio) Colonia
Polanco.-11550 México, D.F. Teléf.: (52.55.5) 282 29 74, 282 22 71, 282
24 59, 282 27 63 y 282 29 82.
Fax: 282 13 02 y 282 15 20.

Secretario de Estado de méxico:

Instituto Nacional de Migración:
Cecilia Romero Castillo. Comisionada
53 87 24 98
53 87 24 00
Ext. 18022,
18023 y 18024

Presidente Comisión Asuntos Exteriores del Congreso de los Diputados:
Josep Antoni Duràn i Lleida

Enviad copia a:
Comisión de Derechos Humanos del Senado de México

Previous articles in chronological order:

Four Internationals arrested and detained in Oaxaca for watching a video
(Initial information received for this article is now known to be incorrect due to confusion because of the tense situation).

Human Rights League Condemns Oaxaca Detentions

Undercover Notes From Oaxaca: Cops, lies and videotape

"Do not make political actions for us": Catalan Four

They still remain incarcerated. We urge as many as possible to write to demand their release. But please do not protest as this will in no way help their situation.

Joe Cancer


Hide the following comment

Further description of the Catalan Four's experience

13.08.2007 21:25

to sign in suport please visit and go to where it says "signa la carta de protesta" and in the new window that opens click "firmar"

please read on, the government's strategy seems to be changing, we've been able to talk to the four friends and they are holding up well, we are all staying alert to their situation, but we need to let this known as much as possible, to fight the silence, and oblivion.
thanks, big hugs.

Communiqué (Declaration)

We are four people of Spanish nationality that were taking a walk, the 5th of August, 2007, in the center of Oaxaca City, on Independencia Street. A little after 9:30pm we were suddenly surrounded by plain clothes police officers, some of whom were carrying high caliber weapons and dressed in dark blue uniforms with bullet-proof protection.

The two police officers giving orders were dressed as civilians and were accompanied by white Nissan pick-up trucks. They forced the four of us and a Mexican guy to face the wall with our hands behind our heads, despite the presence of several civilians witnessing the situation. Without asking for our identification or giving an explanation, they violently forced us inside one of the pick-ups.

During the ride we asked them for an explanation and they answered with blows and insults. At this point one of us showed them a press badge. Immediately following this, they forced us to lay down and they covered us with a plastic tarp, blocking all visual contact among ourselves and between us and them.

After an approximately ten minute drive, we arrived at a place that looked like a police or military quarters where people were dressed in blue and green uniforms. When they took us out of the truck they covered our heads and dragged us to a wall where we were forced to kneel down while they took away our back packs, fanny packs, documentation, and money.

One by one they took us to a dark and empty room. In this room they took face and profile photos of us. They forced the three women among us to remain standing facing the wall with our hands behind our heads. The men were forced to kneel down, also facing the wall.

While being held captive, some of us received beatings, were forced to do humiliating acts, were insulted, and threatened. One of the women suffered sexual aggression, and the Mexican man was forced to do push-ups while a group of officers laughed at him and threatened to "use the puñal" (a sharp spike-like weapon). The climate of psychological terror was accentuated by the sound of the loading of firearms, being kept in the dark, having our photos taken at random with strong lights in our faces, being pushed around, etc.

After all of this (approximately one hour later) they escorted us out with our heads down and separated the men from the women. They put us back in the pick-up trucks, forcing us to lower our heads once again.

They never told us where we were or where we were being taken. They drove us to another place that looked like a police station and one by one we were brought to a room where they took down our personal information and asked us about our state of health.

At the same time, two men in plain clothes with notebooks asked us many questions about our stay in the country.

Afterwards we were taken to a room with a judge and we overheard that we were accused of public disturbance, although we were never formally informed of the motive for our arrest, the accusations against us, and were not allowed to make a phone call, or contact the Spanish consulate.

The judge told us we caught without our identification and that we would be transferred to one of the immigration detention centers. We explained that the police had stolen our documentation, money, and belongings, which she took no account of.

Afterwards, at 1:30am we were taken from the police station to the immigration center of the INM (National Immigration Institute of Oaxaca).

There we informed them that we had been robbed and we demanded to be allowed to contact the Spanish Consulate. On Monday, August 6th, we wrote statements of what had occurred, and on Tuesday the 7th, in an official vehicle accompanied by the PFP (Federal Preventative Police), we were forcefully taken to the Immigration center of the INM in Mexico City, where we currently remain.

On Wednesday, August 8th, we accompanied to the Spanish Consulate where we were issued new passports which still have not been given to us. Therefore since Wednesday, August 8th at 4pm, we are considered illegal though documented foreigners. Even so, we continued to be deprived of our freedom and to this day the corresponding authorities have yet to inform us of our legal situation.

From the immigration detention center INM of Mexico City (Iztapalapa), we confirm the absolute illegality of the deprivation of our freedom, we denounce the violation of our fundamental human rights on the part of the Mexican authorities, we demand our immediate release, the return of our belongings, as well as the clarification of those responsible.

Signed by:

Laia S. (lawyer)

Ramón S. (professor)

Ariadna N. (journalist)

Nuria M. (anthropologist)

Physical Violence:

We were all: pushed around, grabbed by the arms with stabbing pressure, thrown harshly against the metal of the pick-up truck.

Some of us were: beaten in the back of the neck and the head, pulled by the hair, had our heads pushed down, provoking neck pain.

Sexual Violence:

Two of the women´s blouses were lifted, one of them was left topless, the other was fondled over her clothes at various times on her rear end, her pubic area, and her right breast.

Psychological Violence:

The girl who was sexually fondled was told by an officer that if she cooperated everything would go well. They didn't answer when we asked where we were being taken in the pick-up. They covered our mouths and our heads so that we couldn't see where we were. They were all armed and they shined light in our faces in the dark room so that we couldn't see their faces. They made noises that sounded like they were cocking their guns. They obstructed visual contact between us in order to keep us terrified of doing harm to our compañeros, especially in transport. They took incessant photographs with flashes. They made the Mexican man do push-ups threatening to stab him with a knife, and they whispered insults and threats into our ears. The officers were constantly laughing and making fun of us. We were in the dark for a long period of time, the men on their knees and the women standing with their hands behind their heads.

In the immigration center:

An absolute lack of information regarding our legal process, the failure to obtain a copy of anything in our files, the unnecessary prolongation of our detention, the insinuation of our illegal status. The lack of legal advice.

Joe Cancer