Front Line is concerned for the safety of human rights defenders from the Organisation of Rural Ecologists of Sierra de Petetlán (OCESP), Guerrero state, Mexico. Felipe Arreaga, one of the founding members of the organisation has been detained since November 2004, while 14 other members of the organisation, including Rodolfo Montiel, Albertano Peñaloza and Celso Figueroa, remain under threat of arrest.
Felipe Arreaga was arrested on 3rd November 2004 by the judicial police in the town of Petetlan, Guerrero state. He has been charged in connection with a murder, which was carried out in 1998 against the son of large ‘cacique’ (landowner) Bernadino Bautisto. Front Line is also equally concerned for the safety of his wife Celsa Valdovinos and other members of the Organization de Mujeres Ecologistas, Women’s Environmentalist Organization.
Arrest warrants against Felipe Areaga and the 14-other members of the OCESP were issued in May 2004 in connection with the murder and ‘membership of a criminal organisation’. The arrest warrants against the other 14 members are still pending and they could face arrest at any point in connection with the murder.