Alejandro Cerezo, a human rights defender who is a member of the Cerezo Committee Mexico and coordinator of Urgent Action for Human Rights Defenders (ACUDDEH), was on his way to Paraguay to attend a conference on protective mechanisms for defenders on October 1, when, during a layover in Panama City, he was interrogated and deported. The officials questioning him reiterated that he “could not fly or travel across Panama or another country” and that the information they had gathered about him would be shared with “allied countries,” so his access to those countries, too, would be restricted. The officials further explained that, to avoid these restrictions, he would have to go to the Mexican immigration service and “request a pardon.”

Alejandro was arrested, tortured, and imprisoned along with two of his brothers from 2001 to 2005, when he was cleared of all charges and released. Leaving Mexico to receive a human rights award in Germany in 2012, he had to wait until the airline had received authorization before he was permitted to board and fly over United States territory. The same procedure occurred on his return. In the view of Peace Brigades International, these incidents are concerning because they limit Alejandro Cerezo’s space to act in defense of human rights, and they represent criminalization and stigmatization of his work. Alejandro has protective measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, along with two of his siblings. PBI Mexico accompanies the Cerezo Committee. Peace Brigades International is requesting an immediate, exhaustive, and impartial investigation of the deportation of Alejandro Cerezo Contreras from Panama and requests that the Mexican government take the necessary measures to guarantee the safety and physical and psychological integrity of Alejandro Cerezo, his family, and members of the Cerezo Committee Mexico.

See PBI Mexico’s website for more news and analysis of current events in Mexico.