Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 17, 2023

Yaqui Released from Prison after 7 years: Fighting the Gas Pipeline in Sonora

Indigenous Yaqui leader Fidencio Aldama is free after 7 years in prison and 
has been found not guilty of homicide! He vows to continue to oppose the gas pipeline from the company IEnova, a subsidiary of the transnational U.S. company Sempra Energy. -- Voices in Movement


Fidencio Aldama Perez is an Indigenous Yaqui land defender and political prisoner from the northern Mexican state of Sonora. He was arrested on October 27, 2016, and later sentenced to fifteen years and six months in prison on trumped-up charges related to a death in the community of Loma de Bácum, Sonora.

La Jornada San Luis reports

Cristina Gómez Lima, correspondent

The Yaqui Fidencio Aldama Pérez was released this weekend in Bácum, after seven years in prison for the murder of Cruz Buitimea Félix, which occurred in Loma de Bácum during a confrontation between towns of the Yaqui Nation and the Mexican Army, in a dispute over the passage of the gas pipeline through their territory, in October 2016. His release was a constant demand from the tribe settled in southern Sonora.

Almada Pérez was classified as a political prisoner by his defenders, who assured him that he was innocent of the murder of another indigenous person, who was the victim of a brawl between authorities and Yaquis for opposing the construction of the Agua Prieta gas pipeline, which the IEnova company illegally imposed under the ethnic lands.

This Friday, Fidencio Aldama Pérez was released and declared innocent. Serge Enríquez Tolano, municipal president of Bácum, reported that his release was achieved with the ruling in favor of the three judicial instances of the Government since he did not have reliable evidence to prove his guilt for the crime that took the life of another Yaqui.

He recalled that the freedom of Aldama Pérez was a claim from the Yaqui Tribe to the Sonora State Prosecutor's Office (FGJE), since he was convicted of a crime he did not commit. On repeated occasions, a contingent of women and older adults stood at the offices of the Sonora Prosecutor's Office in Hermosillo to demand their release, without receiving a response and in other cases without being attended to.

In October 2016 -during the PRI administration of Claudia Pavlovich Arellano- around 600 indigenous people clashed, between opponents and supporters of the construction of the gas pipeline in their territory, where federal and state forces arrived to try to bring order; however, the result was one resident dead, eight injured and 12 vehicles set on fire.

Diario del Yaqui reports

The community member was sentenced to 15 years for the death of Cruz Buitimea; his lawyers appealed, stating that Fidencio was innocent

By: Celeste Rivera

The indigenous Yaqui, Fidencio Aldama Pérez, was released on the night of this Friday, July 14, from the Ciudad Obregón Social Readaptation Center in the municipality of Cajeme, Sonora, after having spent seven years in prison. He had initially been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the death of Cruz Buitimea Piña, a native of Loma de Guamuchil, another Yaqui indigenous town, who died during an attack on the traditional guard of Loma de Bácum on October 21, 2016.

This, within the framework of the fight against the passage of the gas pipeline through the territory of the town of Loma de Bácum, whose inhabitants opposed the megaproject considering that it was dangerous for their inhabitants, taking the case of the defense of their territory even to international instances.

After the arrest of Fidencio Aldama Pérez, the community began a fight for his release, whom they considered a "political prisoner" and innocent of all guilt, given that the weapon he carried during the violent events that occurred in the Traditional Guard of Loma de Bácum je was not the one who killed Cruz Buitimea.

The liberation of Aldama Pérez occurs within the framework of the Traditional Festival of the Virgen del Carmen, one of the most important commemorations of those who live in Loma de Bacum. It also occurs at hours of the visit to Sonora by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who this day and tomorrow will be on tour in the State.

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