** He is considered the emblematic political prisoner and the country’s principal prisoner of conscience

** Festive recognition upon his return to the prison in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

[In an archived image, friends, relatives and a representative of the Frayba Human Rights Center, demand the liberation of Alberto Patishtán, 12 years from his unjust incarceration Photo: María Luisa Severiano]

By: Hermann Bellinghausen, Envoy

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, July 27, 2012

Since his exit from the federal prison in Guasave, Sinaloa, on Thursday morning, to return to the state prison he was taken out of in October, Alberto Patishtán Gómez has received wide recognition. First, the rest of the prisoners in federal prison number 8 said goodbye to him with shouts of “Viva Chiapas.” Upon his arrival at the San Cristóbal prison he was received festively by his compañeros of the Voice of El Amate and those in Solidarity with the Voice of El Amate.

Considered the emblematic political prisoner and the country’s principal prisoner of conscience, by getting the authorities to comply with the court order conceded by a federal judge against his move, Patishtán won a battle on the path to his freedom.

As he tells in his first testimony since his return, “they took me out of my cell, gave me my things and told me that I was going to return. They took me to the medical area, later to the guards. I waited; the workers had not arrived. Later we waited for breakfast. They delivered my documents and letters from my friends.” Towards 9 “they took me to the airport in an ambulance. Ever since I left the federal prison they shackled my hands and feet. The manner of return was different, because they took me to the airplane. They didn’t take off the shackles.” He remembers: “When I left the cell in Guasave, everyone congratulated me. What joy! When they took me (in October) they took me with pure violence.”

“A person told me that a lawyer and a doctor would come with me,” he relates. “They offered me food and told me not to speak badly of them. One person asked me how the matter is going, they told me they wished me well, that my dispute is political. They searched me like three times and took photos of me when they were searching me, and also when they were giving me food. Later we arrived in Villa Aldama, Veracruz, they dropped a prisoner off and put in two others. Later we went to leave those prisoners in San Luis Potosí and afterwards they brought me to Chiapas”.

At the airport “some doctors got in and examined me. They took off my shackles and I got off of the plane. There would be documents and questions. We arrived at 6:30 PM. They took a lot of photos of me. Later the Lobo Group received me and brought me here. The treatment was different. The director received me when I arrived. The commander and the warden received me, and took me straight ahead.”

His compañeros in solidarity with the Voice of El Amate said that the director “had said to us that you were going to arrive on August 3. When Alberto arrived last night, everyone made a line to greet him.”

The traumatic experience of “punishment” that the move to the north signified and the treatment as a dangerous criminal not only consolidated a vast network of solidarity in the world, but also left new lessons. He pronounces in favor of “improving the prison system with respect to prisoners and their families, health, medications and nutrition.” And he adds: “I met a compañero at the prison. He told me that one must take into account thesis and laws. He had documents from Acteal and Atenco that he was studying to defend himself.”

He also referred to his state of health: “In Guasave they said that they did not have the medical record; that when they got it they were going to buy the (eye) drops for me. They told me that I do not have glaucoma, but later a doctor from the federal prison council told me that I have optical ischemic neuropathy.” And he clarifies: “On February 14 it was mentioned that they gave me a medical examination. It is a lie, they never did it.”

For her part, Gabriela Patishtán, who has followed her father’s case closely to the degree of enrolling in Law School at the state university, today was thankful for the solidarity the professor and his family received: “One part of that ‘justice’ has been attained, that my father returns, and I am very thankful for all those that didn’t leave us and were always with us, although it may be in their different ways. We are witnessing the fruit of the efforts and struggles that have been made. What follows, and what I have longed for during these 12 years and will continue asking for, is my father’s freedom. What has motivated me is his innocence, I know that the truth will win and that at any moment he will be free.”

Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Saturday, July 28, 2012
En español: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/07/28/politica/018n1pol