Freedom for Nestora Committee: Nestora Salgado on hunger strike! Help us win her freedom!

Dear Friend,

Nestora Salgado, courageous champion of her indigenous community and a political prisoner in Mexico, is on a hunger strike. She began refusing food on May 5th and intends “to take this to the bitter end,” according to her attorney Leonel Rivero Rodriguez.

The Freedom for Nestora Committee is contacting you because we need your financial support to help win Nestora’s freedom at this critical juncture.

We will be sending a delegation to Mexico City as soon as possible to publicize Nestora’s cause and show that she has widespread support in the U.S. While in Mexico, we will meet with other free Nestora activists and attorney Rivero Rodriguez as well as lead a protest on the steps of the Secretariat of the Interior (Secretaria de Gobernación) building. If it can be arranged, we will also talk with the media, Mexican government representatives and visit the U.S. embassy. Your generous donation will help make this emergency trip possible.

This last week has seen a flurry of support actions inside Mexico, including solidarity hunger strikes begun May 13 by Nestora’s fellow community police leaders Arturo Campos and Gonzalo Molina, who were illegally jailed shortly after she was. Our delegation will join their families in calling for the release of all political prisoners.

We are also raising money toward Nestora’s legal defense. Right now she is in prison in Nayarit, Tepic, a 12 hour journey from her attorney in Mexico City. The Mexican legal system is designed to thwart prisoners’ rights to confer with their lawyers and to have speedy trials. This means a 45 minute meeting with her attorney can take days to arrange, plus travel time–and that equals spiraling legal costs.

If you are ready to act now, you can make your online contribution here. Or make out your check to the “RW-Nestora Fund” and mail it c/o New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle WA 98144.

With Nestora on a hunger strike to the “bitter end,” time is of the essence.

Read on if you need more information – or visit FreeNestora.org

After almost two years in prison awaiting trial, Nestora’s health is deteriorating rapidly. During this time, all federal charges related to her role as commander of a perfectly legal community police force were dropped and she was ordered released. However, the Guerrero state prosecutor has refused to free her and instead manufactured new charges that carry a 1000- year sentence!

In the meantime, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered the Mexican government to take immediate steps to address Nestora’s serious health problems, which could include Nestora being transferred from the prison in Nayrit to one in Mexico City where the needed medical care is available. The National Human Rights Commission of the Mexican federal Chamber of Deputies also made this request—more than once.

Finally, yesterday the Secretary of the Interior, in light of the measures outlined by these two bodies, announced that Nestora will be moved to a prison with fewer restrictions and where she will have more rights. This is welcome news, but we’ve heard it all before and nothing happened. Instead the politicians, state prosecutor and court system in Guerrero have proven to be very effective at blocking her transfer–so far.

This is why Nestora is on hunger strike. She was illegally sent to a federal prison, falsely charged along with her co-leaders, and held for almost two years on the insistence of a corrupt Guerrero political and court system.

Her crime? Being elected to lead a community police force, authorized under the Guerrero and Mexican constitutions, in her hometown of Olinála—and doing her job so well she threatened the “traditional political fiefdoms,” as her lawyer puts it. A brave, independent, indigenous woman leader, Nestora is fighting for her life and her community. And she is only one of hundreds of political prisoners in Mexico!

Please make a donation today to the Freedom for Nestora Committee here or mail your check made out to “RW-Nestora fund” c/o New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118.

And many, many thanks for your ongoing support. ¡Libertad para Nestora, Arturo Campos y Gonzalo Molina!

Sincerely,

Su Docekal, Libertad para Nestora/ Freedom for Nestora Committee

Grisel Rodriguez, Nestora’s daughter

José Luis Avila, Nestora’s husband

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