Attack by presumed paramilitary against Polho woman

Communique' from the San Pedro Polho' Autonomous Municipality

To All of National and International Civil Society.

We would like to denounce the attack by a presumed paramilitary, on the outskirts of the village of Takiou'kum, against a young woman who was doing community work. On Tuesday, May 14, between 2:30 and 3:30 in the afternoon, while returning to San Pedro Polho' and having finished the educational work she was doing in Camp 8 of the Displaced, this young woman was attacked by a presumed paramilitary.

The young woman, whose name is being omitted for security reasons, relates that she was waiting for public transport when an individual, who was in an intoxicated state, surprised her from the rear. The attacker grabbed her from behind, held her by the neck, covered her mouth with his hand and pushed her into a ditch among the undergrowth, all the while threatening her with a knife. The individual struck her several times in the mouth and the abdomen with his hand. He grabbed the little bit of money the young woman was carrying, and he threatened to rape her.

The young woman began screaming, calling for help, and a family that was working in their house went to her aid. Senor Sebastia'n Pe'rez Pe'rez ran to where the young woman and the attacker were. Senor Sebastia'n managed to get the better of the attacker, and they began struggling with each other. Sebastia'n's left arm was injured from the blows which he received, and his two sons came to his assistance in subduing the presumed paramilitary. Senor Sebastia'n's wife and daughters also went to her aid, and they pulled her out of the ditch.

Moments later, a transport van that was headed towards Poconichim appeared, which stopped when it saw the incident. Three persons got out of the van, and they tried to calm down the attacker. The young woman was put on the van, and she was to be taken back to Camp 8 of the Displaced, Takiou'kum. During the trip, they met up with another van. The drivers spoke to each other about the incident, and the second van offered to take the young woman to San Pedro Polho', the home site of the educational program.

In Polho', she received an examination from a doctor from the Emiliano Zapata autonomous clinic for her injuries and her pregnancy, since the young woman had been hit in different parts of her body, and she was quite agitated.

On Thursday, May 16, the Polho' authorities, the woman who had been attacked, and a member of the program went to the site of the incidents in order to verify what had happened. Once in Takiou'kum, they spoke with the Senor Sebastia'n family, who had defended her two days previously. These people identified the attacker as being Agustin Santi's Arias, whose real name is Jose' Sa'ntis Pe'rez, since this individual frequently changes his name in order to carry out his criminal activities.

According to the young woman's recounting, Jose' Sa'ntis Pe'rez had been accompanied by another young man, of approximately 20 years of age, who encouraged him and shouted: "Grab her, grab her. Don't let her get away."

The authorities of this municipality wish to denounce these incidents to national and international civil society, this reprehensible event which violates the guarantees of security and physical safety of every individual. For this reason, we are respectfully calling this to the attention of each one of the different organizations and of the various media, so that these incidents will not take place again.

The Authorities of the Autonomous Municipality of San Pedro Polho' appreciate your efforts in seeing that this incident is made known.

San Pedro Polho' Autonomous Municipality,
May 19, 2002.

Agusti'n Perez Parcelo
San Pedro Polho' Autonomous Municipality Council,

[Signature and seal]

Originally published in Spanish by Enlace Civil, A.C. *********************************** Translated by irlandesa   From: Enlace Civil, A.C. Date: Monday, May 20 2002 13:23:29 -0500

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