Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Mexico prisoners crucify selves to protest ‘torture’

AFP AND AP , TUXTLA GUTIERREZ, MEXICO

Two prisoners crucified themselves in southeast Mexico ahead of Easter after claiming to have been tortured to confess crimes, a state official said on Tuesday.

The prisoners tied themselves to wooden crosses made in a carpentry workshop and nailed holes in their hands until they bled, remaining there all day on Monday, the official said, requesting anonymity.

The two, who were later untied by fellow inmates, are part of 23 prisoners involved in two-week demonstrations at El Amate prison in Chiapas state, seeking a review of their cases and demanding to be freed.

The demonstrators, members of farmers’ unions, claim to have been tortured and forced to confess to murders and other crimes.

Last week four of the prisoners sewed their lips together, and eight others are on hunger strike.

Members of their families said police had removed them on Monday from their own two-week protests outside state government buildings.

The government said that those protests had stopped after talks in which they agreed to revise all the cases within 45 days.

This week, Semana Santa, is Mexico’s second most important holiday season of the year, behind only Christmas, and runs from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

In related news, the lawyer for the family of slain US journalist Bradley Will accused Mexican prosecutors on Tuesday of harassing him with false accusations of leaking confidential information.

Miguel Angel de los Santos said prosecutors were trying to intimidate him because he had criticized the investigation into Will’s death in 2006.

Will, a 36-year-old from New York who worked for Indymedia.org, was shot as he filmed a clash between protesters and state government supporters during the five-month political uprising in southern Oaxaca state.

Two supporters of the protest movement have been arrested in the killing, despite the belief of Will’s family that pro-government forces were behind his death. One of the two was ordered to stand trial on homicide charges last year.

The suspects are supporters of the radical movement known as the People’s Assembly of Oaxaca, which seized control of Oaxaca city for almost five months in 2006 to push for the ouster of Governor Ulises Ruiz.

De los Santos, who has represented the Bradley family in Mexico, said the federal Attorney General’s Office had summoned him twice for questioning over allegations that he leaked confidential information from the case to the news media.

He has not been charged with any crime and denied wrongdoing.

The Attorney General’s Office did not return requests for comment.

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