Subject Matter: Dr Jose Manuel Mireles
Recommendation: No prior subject matter knowledge required
From prison, the Doctor Jose Manuel Mireles spoke of his search for justice opposite the government and organized crime. More than his liberty, the chief founder of the autodefensas wanted to demonstrate that " he is not a criminal, that he is not guilty and wants to leave with his head held high", explained the deputy of the citizens movement, Daniel Moncada
Reporter: Ines Garcia Ramos
Ten minutes per week, they are the minutes that Jose Manuel Mireles, founder of the autodefensas in Michoacan, to speak by telephone from the Federal prison at Hermosillo, Sonora.
He has been imprisoned for 679 days in an isolated cell. The only contact he maintains is with penitentiary personnel, and doctors and medics that attend to him. Every 30 days, he can receive three previously authorized visitors.
With all of these limitations, Dr Mireles agreed to an interview with Zeta through the prison telephones. Days before, he had suffered a micro stroke, to add to his diabetes and hypertension, but he says thanks to the medics and nurses in the prison that attend the sick, work miracles with the inmates", saving lives.
The voice of the ex leader of the group of autodefensas is firm, one can hear its fluent. He spoke of the conditions of his detention, of wanting to be set free with his two weapons: the Constitution and the search for justice. Also his defense team have made use of these weapons, his lawyers have promoted three statutory vehicles in the last few months to obtain the release of Mireles.
None of them, up to the present, have been accepted by Jorge Armando Wong Aceituno, a Judge of the Fifth District with base in Uruapan, Michoacan, where the penal cause 137/2014 for the ex founder of the autodefensas detained on 27th of June of 2014.
Autodefensas didn't violate the law; The Federal Government did: Lawyer
At the start of 2013, civilian groups rose up in arms in Michoacan, above all in the Tierra Caliente, to throw out the Knights Templar from the communities and villages where the cartel assassinated, kidnapped and carried out extortion.
In this context rose the figure of Jose Manuel Mireles Valverde. The doctor that converted into the founder of these groups and the spokesman for hundreds of armed men.
Meanwhile Enrique Pena Nieto, recently installed as President of Mexico, promoted a secure country, away from the war on drugs and in peace, the auto defensas and those who supported them, denounced how the narco had become the rule of law.
After a year, a special commission for the security of Michoacan, headed by Alfredo Castillo (Otis: the biggest coward in recent Mexican history), created on 15th of January of 2014 by the Secretary of the Government, sought out the leaders of the autodefensas in order to give up their weapons, cease their vigilance activities and capturing of criminals.
Nine day after on the 26th of January, Castillo and Fausto Vallejo, then State Governor, reached an agreement whereby it would obligatory for the autodefensas to register their almost 7000 weapons and incorporate into the Fuerza Rurales.
This document is one of the three pieces of evidence with which the defense are looking for dismissal of the case, i.e. the suspension of criminal proceedings against Dr Mireles and of the 380 autodefensas that remain in detention, indicates his lawyer Ignacio Mendoza.
"The crime of possession of firearms for exclusive use of the armed forces without permission, but the permission existed, so there is no element for which they can prosecute", he sustained.
The second piece of evidence, is that the detained were acting under the principal of protection. "They were armed because they had to preserve their lives and the lives of their families", he points out.
While the third charge is disappearance of evidence:" we present the agreement and say to the Judge that here is the permission, there is no charge, you have to let them go. (Otis: I spoke recently to Ioan Grillo the author, and asked him about Dr Mireles, we spoke about him being a political prisoner, and he commented that " Dr Mireles will not be released under this administration".)
"On the 13th of July they had to appear with Alfredo Castillo and Fausto Vallejo in order to thrash out the details of the document", he continues.
The litigant was the sub prosecutor of justice in Morelos and one of the more than 30 state functionaries detained for alleged links to organized crime in 2009, during the "Michoacanazo", he was then released through a legal strategy that he had designed himself.
|Centre, Daniel Moncada, Hipolito Mora and Virginia Mireles during a 2015 protest to the PGR|
Although the promoted dismissal of charges was registered in 2015 and Judge Wong Aceituno denied it, now it is in court of appeal, which expects a decision within 30 days.
"Always when these decisions are political and not judicial, it ends badly. From the start, we have advertised that this is political and not judicial", he argued.
According to Mendoza, the creation of the special commission for the security of Michoacan lacked the legal fundamentals, " the State cannot institutionalize the autodefensas neither register the weapons, without using the instrument and protocol that marks article "29" of the Constitution".
The said article establishes that in cases of grave danger or conflict in society, you can restrict or suspend the exercising of rights and guarantees. "If they had done it properly, and Congress had of approved it, the necessary laws are dictated under court supervision, then yes it would have been legitimate to register the weapons, forgive homicides, missing persons and kidnappings", he details.
For the lawyer, the only responsibility on the part of the pact signed is on the authorities. During later events, in December of 2015, Castillo denied to a Judge the existence of this agreement. (Otis: this makes him a perjurer).
"Who put the public security at risk? Dr Mireles and the autodefensas, or the State that legalized and regularized almost 7000 weapons and has no clue where they are?", questioned Mendoza.
If the judicial defense of Mireles is proven true, then the Federal Government would have criminal responsibility because, "it was they who broke the rule of law, thus they do not want to accept that they violated the rules and committed crimes against human rights".
Meanwhile, his lawyers continue working on proofs inside the penal processes. If it goes well, they can also present evidence before the national commission for human rights about the state of Mireles health, Mendoza said " we are not fighting to raise more injunctions, were are fighting to get him freed, he has the right to be set free".
The Vengeance of Alfredo Castillo
For Daniel Moncada, deputy of the citizens movement in Michoacan, Mireles is a political prisoner.
"The objective of his detention, is to reduce his health, personality and leadership, so that one day when he does recover his liberty, finally, he will not have the previous strength of capacity that he had", he assures to Zeta.
In the electoral campaign of 2015, when Moncada was a leader of the citizens movement, Hipolito Mora, also an autodefensas founder, and Virginia Mireles, sister of Dr Mireles were delegated candidates.
Since then, the young deputy has headed press conferences, urged publicly the liberation of the ex leader of the autodefensas and participated in his legal defense. From refusal of the Federal Government and the Government of Michoacan, to order the transfer or Mireles from prison in Sonora to a prison in Zurumbeneo, Michoacan, Moncada insists on the interference of Alfredo Castillo.
"The Government of the State of Michoacan is following a schizophrenic dynamic. First it said yes, then later no or yes. There is a group of high functionaries, from Alfredo Castillo's group, in local Government, that are impeding the transfer of the Dr and the recovery of his liberty. In these actions, I see the hand of Alfredo Castillo", he affirmed.
In documents submitted in the penal cause 137/2014II-M, seen by this news outlet, one can read that the Interdisciplinary Technical Council of Cefereso #11 in Sonora assure that Mireles has an indice that states he represents a high danger, and for that he cannot be transferred to a prison that is not considered "maximum security".
This answer was insufficient for the Deputy of the Citizens Movement, since there are no documents that support the criminological profiling of the Dr. Nevertheless the objections of the Federal Government and the State, it will be a Judge who determines if Dr Mireles has the right to be sent to a prison closer to the courthouse where the matter is being dealt with.
"It is brutal what they have done to him. His health is deteriorating every day a little more in that concentration camp, without adequate care and its been almost two years since he was unjustly imprisoned and without being convicted of anything," he detailed.
It is Moncada that expresses, that more than just gaining his freedom, the fight in court is to prove his innocence above all.
"If we the defense ask the Judge to close the instruction, present its conclusions and convict him, the Dr would pay a fine and go free, but it was the Doctors decision to plead not guilty, because he is not a criminal, and wants to leave court innocent of all charges and with his head held high", he declares.
Therefore, " we have sought recognition of his innocence and, in any case, the PGR has the power to withdraw smoothly the last charge that he is accused of, and with that, he would be set free with immediate effect by a Judge".
According to the registry of the National Institute for Statistics and Geography, INEGI, in 2012, in 14,754 cases of firearm crime, were issued for constitutional dismissal and 798 of these related to Michoacan.
We do not need to be prisoners
Virginia Mireles has flown when she can from Michoacan, for the benefit of the founder of the autodefensas in prison. For her, the imprisonment of her brother has been very painful, and a constant fight.
She also a Medic, explained to Zeta that from the Tierra Caliente, there are many who write letters and send books or visit her brother. "There are many people that are following the fight and his liberty and that of the 380 autodefensas that also are detained", she said.
In the more than two years that Dr Mireles was the head of the fight of the autodefensas, there is only one aspect that he trusts his family would change:
To accept "the pardoned", people from organized crime that infiltrated and inconvenienced the movement. If they have repented, and for all Michoacano's, the movement of the autodefensas helped us because they rolled over Mexico and exposed what was going on here", he narrates.
Meanwhile in the same State, some ex autodefensas continue in the Fuerzas Rurales, many have retired to doing what they did before, details Virginia Mireles a few minutes after 11am in Hermosillo, Sonora.
In the Cefereso#11, located in that city, almost 4000 inmates pass their days. Among them Jose Manuel Mireles, is 57 years old. In this center, the CNDH have documented grave cases of over-population and housing, where people are treated with indignant and deficient health services.
From there the ex boss of the autodefensas had his conversation with Zeta:
"In almost two years of your detention, what would you say to the Federal Government in respect of your incarceration?"
"What I said to the judge in my preparatory declaration: I've had two years searching for justice and doing my work, I had already corresponded with him. Even, the officials who were in Morelia when they lowered me off the helicopter, asked me why I was not afraid, I said to them " I have two years to seek justice, and if you are the judiciary, I have no reason to fear you, but if you do not represent the judiciary, there's nothing you can say that will make me afraid, this made them laugh".
Two years have passed and I have not given up hope that I will get justice, that they will revise my situation, and conform to my rights. My fundamental weapons are the constitution and the defense of justice. We are fighting for nothing more than the delivery of justice".
"Not only do we fight for justice, but an efficient public security, and also to live in peace and tranquility. In our village, family is the most important thing in our lives".
"You fought against organized crime when you were head of the autodefensas, now you carry the fight to demonstrate your innocence, which appears to you the most difficult of the two?
"On my account, they were involved together, organized crime and the Government a long time ago, when we uncovered it all, we went forward hoping that they should pay attention, and should give us our freedoms in accordance with our rights".
"We are asking for a trial that had Judges fulfilling the role they signed up for, a prompt, speedy and impartial trial. So that we need not be prisoners, and allow us to go back to our homes, from where we came".
With three tones, the call was stopped, the Prison officers had cut the line.
Original article in Spanish at Zetatijuana