IAPL -Mexico: Three years after her arbitrary detention, we demand the release of Kenia Hernández

For three years the Mexican State has violated the human rights of Kenia Hernández, an Amuzga indigenous lawyer and woman human rights defender who has participated in several social movements in the State of Guerrero and who was arbitrarily detained in October 2020. Eleven national and international human rights organisations demand the Federal Government and the Government of the State of Mexico to secure her immediate release and full reparation for the damages committed.

Kenia Inés Hernández Montalván has been deprived of her liberty for three years. On 18 October 2020, 22 members of the Ministerial Police of the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Mexico arbitrarily detained her in a toll booth in Amozoc, Puebla. The human rights defender did not receive a warrant, nor was she informed of the reason for her detention. During the detention process she was subjected to ill-treatment and physical violence. Her family and legal counsel had no communication with her until the following morning, on 19 October 2020, at which point here whereabouts became known and it was announced that she was detained in the Santiaguito Social Readaptation Centre, located in Almoloya de Juárez, State of Mexico. Kenia Hernández was accused of “robbery with armed violence”, as well as “attacks on roads as part of a gang” to the detriment of the Federal Roads and Bridges institution (CAPUFE) and Autovías Concesionaria Mexiquenses.

On 25 October 2020, the Attorney General’s Office, along with the representative of CAPUFE, identified Kenia Hernández as “a person who puts society at risk because she demonstrates a lot”, and therefore requested her transfer to the Federal Centre for Social Readaptation of Women (CEFERESO) No. 16, Morelos, a maximum security prison.

Before her arbitrary detention, Kenia Hernández was dedicated to the defence of land and territory, women’s rights, and indigenous peoples rights. As coordinator of the “Colectivo Libertario Zapata Vive” and as a co-founder and member of the “Movimiento por la Libertad de los Presos Políticos del Estado de Guerrero” (MOLPEG), she accompanied survivors of gender-based violence and relatives of victims of feminicide, people unjustly deprived of their liberty and people affected by the activities of multinational extractive companies in Mexico.

The woman human rights defender is currently facing 11 prosecutions in retaliation for her work. Among these are two sentences which would amount to more than 20 years in prison in the State of Mexico, for the crime of “robbery with violence”. The other nine trials are in the federal jurisdition for the alleged crime of “attacks on general communication routes”, three of which have been suspended.

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Mexico: Three years after her arbitrary detention, we demand the release of Kenia Hernández