PBI-Mexico accompanies Indigenous Nahua water defender Miguel López Vega, criminalized for his defence of the Metlapanapa River, at court hearing

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On April 26, PBI-Mexico tweeted:

“Today #PBI accompanies the defender and indigenous communicator Miguel López Vega, in the new imputation hearing.

We call on the national and international community in light of the prosecution actions against them, which hinder their legitimate work in defense of #human rights.”

They also posted on Facebook:

“Today we accompany the new hearing of imputation against the indigenous defender and communicator Miguel Lopez Vega. After more than three years of being acquitted for lack of evidence, its process has been reactivated and contrasted with the zero advances the research has on the wastewater drainage project of the Textile City Industrial Park, with which the river is polluting What a surprise.

From PBI we express concern and call on the national and international community to the trial of Miguel Lopez, member of the Front of Peoples in Defense of Land and Water Morelos-Puebla-Tlaxcala (FPDTA-MPT). These actions hinder their legitimate work of defense and contribute to their stigmatization and criminalization. We call on the Mexican authorities to recognize and protect the important work of the people defending the territory in Mexico.”

Front Line Defenders has explained:

“Miguel López Vega is a Community Representative of the Nahua community of Santa María Zacatepec, a community broadcaster of Radio Zacatepec, councillor of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) and member of the People’s Front in Defence of Land and Water of Puebla, Morelos and Tlaxcala (FPDTA-PMT).

FPDTA-PMT works together with Nahua communities in the states of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala to protect the rights of the 22 communities affected by several mega-development projects in the area.

As a community representative of the town of Santa María Zacatepec, he has worked to protect the Metlapanapa River which is at risk of being contaminated by discharge of wastewater from the Huejotzingo Textile City industrial park. He also advocates for the right of indigenous communities to self-determination.”

April 26 court hearing

Most recently El Sol de Puebla reported:

In his case, [López Vega] said that in the past, the State Water and Sanitation Commission of Puebla (CEAS) granted him forgiveness for the alleged crimes that accused him in January of [2020], when he participated in a movement that prevented companies from Ciudad Textil, located in Huejotzingo, from discharging their waste into the Metlapanapa River.

That led him to jail for a few days and from that time to date, he faces his process on conditional release. However, in the last hearing CEAS granted the pardon and it was assumed that the alleged crimes of obstruction of work and attack on means of transport would be null and void.

Info Quorum video still.

After his hearing on April 26, Info Quorum reported:

Miguel López Vega triumphed over the state government of Puebla that for three years criminalized him for his defense of water and territory in the region of Juan C. Bonilla, where the environmentalist and community broadcaster is from.

In a strenuous hearing that lasted more than six hours … at the House of Justice of Cholula, Miriam Huerta Lechuga, judge of Criminal Orality and Execution Judicial Region Center-West determined that there was no evidence or the crimes of obstruction of work, damage to communication routes and damage to a vehicle with a Molotov bomb, of which the State Water and Sanitation Commission of Puebla (CEASPUE) accused him since 2020.

Info Quorum video still.

Frente de Pueblos video still.

PBI-Mexico began accompanying the Peoples’ Front in Defence of Land and Water (@fpdtampt) in early 2020.

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