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Summary

We live in a place in time where posing a confrontation to corrupt corporations who threaten our environment, its wildlife and our most basic human rights on behalf of profit, has become paramount. As the proliferation of these acts of greed continue to expand, so do the numbers of us who are impacted directly, in our own back yard. Rather than an isolated issue, in some far away place, the threat of what is characterized as “development” continues to emerge as destruction, and its harmful affect is being felt daily in every aspect of our lives.

But such violations are not possible without government complicity.  Corrupt officials, lack of transparency and failed rule of law contribute to environmental and human rights abuses. 

For many of us, these threats are too massive to confront and too dangerous to risk action. This leaves the weight of bravery to be carried by a few. A few can not make all of the difference. He defends a multi-generational fishing population who’s lives and livelihood are threatened by large development.  He helped stop massive open pit gold mines in a sensitive biosphere reserve.  He has led the community to organize and protect the precious landscapes, water and environmental treasures that they steward.

Now John has been jailed in order to silence him and and bring fear and intimidation to those he defends. This website has been constructed to request donations to support John Moreno’s legal defense. Please support John’s legal defense and help uphold the rule of law.

Overview

  • Environmental attorney and Human Rights defender John Moreno was detained in La Paz, Baja California Sur on May 19 on charges related to a case from 2014 that he had successfully litigated and closed for his client Joella Corado. 
  • He has been imprisoned without bail, but has not been mistreated.  He has retained criminal counsel to handle his case.
  • John and his attorney were able to review the charges against him and it is clear that signatures were forged and documents were created to support false claims against him.   That evidence was admitted by the court but the judge did not take it into account, and in fact, the court has ruled that there is “probable cause” for a trial, extending the period of John’s detention indefinitely despite the fact that the charges against him do not warrant this.
  • Three months prior to his arrest John and his legal team, in representation of the community of Todos Santos and the Punta Lobos Fishing Cooperative, filed a series of federal and state legal actions against a large developer.
  • In March, because of threats he had received, the Mexican federal government granted John “protective” status as a Defender of Human Rights.  
  • John’s attorney has now requested federal protection of these constitutional guarantees and a thorough investigation of the irregularities and forgeries in the case.  A federal investigation has been opened.
  • There are multiple social media campaigns gearing up to support John.

Donate to the John Moreno Legal Defense Fund


John Moreno

John Moreno

Joella Corado


The Case (EnGlish)


For Immediate Release

Environmental activist arrested and held without bail, provoking OUTRAGE AND FEAR IN SOUTHERN BAJA

Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico • June 14 2017

On May 19, agents of the State Prosecutor's Office - armed with an arrest warrant drawn up by the Public Ministry and based on falsified evidence - detained lawyer and activist John Moreno on charges related to a case from 2014 that he had successfully litigated and closed. Also arrested and charged with "displacement" was Joella Corado, a dual Mexican/American citizen, who had been Moreno's client in that case.

Both are being held at CERESO, the central prison in La Paz, BCS. Judge Rosalía Cota Domínguez, while acknowledging that the evidence had been forged, nevertheless found there was probable cause to proceed against the accused and for almost a month has refused to rule on their petitions for bail.

Attorney Arturo Rubio Ruiz sees the case as a blatant expression of the corruption tainting the BCS legal system, pointing out that the evidence had been falsified in a manner he called “comically obvious”.  Rubio Ruiz immediately filed for a federal judge to overturn the state judge’s decision and demanded that charges be brought against the State Attorney General Erasmo Palemon Alamilla, citing his complicity in the case. Commented Forensic Investigator Humberto Franco Merlos, “If the Procurador forged documents to arrest Moreno, what will happen when someone we love, or we ourselves, are arrested based on fabricated evidence?”

The arrests sparked outrage in the small coastal town of Todos Santos where Moreno has represented the local fishing cooperative in their 2-year struggle to contain a mega-development that threatens their ancestral livelihood as well as the town’s beaches and water supply.  Many in the community see the arrest as an act of reprisal to derail the multiple lawsuits that Moreno has filed on behalf of townspeople challenging the legality of the development. Fisherman Rosario Salvatierra concurs: “We have no doubt who is behind this attempt to silence John.”

Protesters filled El Congreso, fishermen marched in Todos Santos, demonstrations in front of CERESO have been non-stop and over 150 organizations have signed a letter to BSC Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis decrying this “egregious human rights violation.”

Earlier this year the federal government granted Moreno protection as a defender of human rights.  It is unclear how this status will impact the case given all the irregularities.

Todos Santos is a town of 6,000 located on the Pacific Coast of Baja Sur, about 50 miles north of the sprawling touristic developments known as Los Cabos.   Many fear their small town would become “another Cabo” should the mega-development, called Tres Santos, prevail beyond its first phase, the recently opened Hotel San Cristobal.

For Further Information Contact: Lic. Lourdes Nuñez   lulisnunez77@gmail.com

 

The Case (Spanish)


Para Publicación Inmediata

ACTIVISTA AMBIENTAL ARRESTADO, SIN DERECHO A SIN FIANZA, PROVOCA FURIA Y MIEDO EN BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR

Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, México • 14 de junio de 2017

El 19 de mayo, agentes del Ministerio Público, armados con una orden de arresto dictada por el Ministerio Público y basada en pruebas falsificadas, detuvieron al abogado y activista John J. Moreno Rutowski por cargos relacionados con un caso de 2014 que había litigado y cerrado con éxito. También fue arrestada y acusada de "despojo",  Joella Corado, ciudadana mexicana / americana, que había sido cliente de Moreno en ese caso.

Ambos se encuentran en el CERESO, la cárcel central de La Paz, BCS. La jueza Rosalía Cota Domínguez, aunque reconoció que las pruebas habían sido falsificadas,  encontró que había una causa probable para proceder contra el acusado y durante casi un mes se ha negado a pronunciarse sobre sus peticiones de fianza.

El abogado Arturo Rubio Ruiz ve el caso como una expresión flagrante de la corrupción  en el sistema legal de BCS, señalando que la evidencia había sido falsificada de una manera que él llamó "cómicamente obvio". Rubio Ruiz solicitó inmediatamente que un juez Federal revocara la decisión del juez Estatal y exigió que se presentaran cargos contra el Fiscal General del Estado Erasmo Palemón Alamilla, citando su complicidad en el caso. Comentó el investigador forense Humberto Franco Merlos, "Si el Procurador falsificó documentos para arrestar a Moreno, ¿qué pasará cuando alguien a quien amamos, o nosotros mismos, es arrestado basado en evidencia fabricada?"

Los arrestos provocaron indignación tanto en la Ciudad de La Paz, como el el poblado costero de Todos Santos, donde Moreno ha representado a la Cooperativa Pesquera Punta Lobos en su lucha de dos años para contener un mega-desarrollo que amenaza su vida ancestral, así como las playas de la la localidad y el suministro de agua potable. Muchos en la comunidad consideran la detención como un acto de represalia para descarrilar los múltiples Denuncias que Moreno ha presentado en nombre de los ciudadanos que cuestionan la falta de legalidad del desarrollo. El pescador Rosario Salvatierra coincide: "No tenemos duda de quién está detrás de este intento de silenciar a John".

Manifestantes llenaron El Congreso, los pescadores marcharon en Todos Santos, las manifestaciones frente a CERESO han sido sin parar y más de 150 organizaciones han firmado una carta al gobernador del BCS, Carlos Mendoza Davis, que denuncia está "flagrante violación de los Derechos Humanos". A principios de este año, el gobierno federal otorgó a Moreno protección como Defensor de los Derechos Humanos. La comicion local de Derechos Humanos encontro suficientes inconsistencia para abrir la investigacion pertinente.

Todos Santos es un Pueblo de 6.000 habitantes ubicado en la costa pacífico de Baja California  Sur, a unos 50 kilómetros al norte de los extensos desarrollos turísticos conocidos como Los Cabos. Muchos temen que su pequeño poblado se convierta en "otro Cabo" si el mega-desarrollo, llamado Tres Santos, continua más allá de su primera fase, la cual ya fue inagurada con el Hotel San Cristóbal.

Para más información contacto: Lic. Lourdes Nuñez lulisnunez77@gmail.com

 


On May 25th demonstrators packed the gallery in Congress, chanting and holding placards demanding for the immediate release of Moreno and Corrado. Later that day Judge Rosalía Cota Domínguez found there was probable cause to proceed against the accused and will rule on the request for bail early this week. A massive public rally against corruption has been called for June 1st in front of the CERESO in La Paz.

Todos Santos is a town of 6,000 located on the Pacific Coast of Baja California Sur, about 50 miles north of the sprawling touristic developments known as Los Cabos.   Many fear their small town would become “another Cabo” should the mega-development, called Tres Santos, prevail beyond its first phase, the recently opened Hotel San Cristobal.

El 25 de mayo manifestantes llenaron la galería del Congreso, cantando y sosteniendo pancartas que exigían la liberación inmediata de Moreno y Corrado. Más tarde ese día la jueza Rosalía Cota Domínguez encontró que había una causa probable para proceder contra los acusados y se pronunciará sobre la solicitud de fianza a principios de esta semana. Una manifestación pública masiva contra la corrupción ha sido convocada para el 1 de junio frente al CERESO en La Paz.

Todos Santos es una ciudad de 6.000 habitantes ubicada en la costa pacífica de Baja California Sur, a unos 50 kilómetros al norte de los extensos desarrollos turísticos conocidos como Los Cabos. Muchos temen que su pequeña ciudad se convierta en "otro Cabo" si el mega-desarrollo, llamado Tres Santos, prevalezca más allá de su primera fase, el recién inaugurado Hotel San Cristóbal.


Sign the Petition to Free John Moreno

Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis: #Freedom for John Moreno - sign the petition!