Guapinol - Innocent!
Two years of torture in a Honduran jail for defending community water sources from destructive iron oxide mining.
Three years ago, on August 1, 2018, people from Guapinol, Sector San Pedro and neighboring communities in the municipality of Tocoa, Honduras, set up Camp For Water and Life to protect Carlos Escaleras National Park and the community's water sources from open-pit iron oxide mining. In response, 32 people were criminalized and the camp was illegally evicted by the Honduran state, while the mine and processing plant, operating without proper licenses and despite widespread community rejection, have gone ahead for the benefit of Lenir Perez and Ana Facusse, owners of Inversiones Los Pinares and Ecotek.
Today, the rivers are contaminated and the affected communities are still heavily militarized and monitored by drones and company security. Iron oxide is mined and processed and is scheduled to reach U.S. markets in just a couple of months. Despite widespread knowledge of the acts of corruption and serious human rights violations against the Guapinol and San Pedro River defenders, governments and domestic and foreign companies continue to support and protect Perez and Facusse who act with impunity.
In August 2019, knowing that they had done nothing more than defend their community's water sources, eight water protectors voluntarily appeared before the National Jurisdiction Court in Tegucigalpa to clarify the pending criminal charges against them, filed by the Tocoa Prosecutor's Office on behalf of the Inversiones Los Pinares mining company.
Although Judge Lisseth Vallecillo dismissed the spurious charges requiring preventive detention, she issued a formal indictment on 2 charges of aggravated arson and unjust deprivation of liberty and ordered their arbitrary detention.
After two years, the case is now one step closer to going to trial. This Friday there will be an evidentiary hearing before the Trujillo Sentencing Court; after the hearing, the Court will set a trial date.
The defendants are innocent. There is no substantiated evidence; the accusations are fabricated and have served to repress the legitimate resistance movement in favor of mining exploitation.
At the same time, we are still waiting for the Supreme Court of Justice to resolve an appeal on the merits that was admitted just a few months ago. In the event of a favorable ruling, the defendants would have the charges dropped and would be immediately released. We demand a fair and just ruling in accordance with the law.
Join us this week:
1. Press Conference
Wednesday, August 4 at 10:00 a.m.
Supreme Court of Justice
2. Hearing to propose evidence for trial
Friday, August 6 at 9:30 a.m.
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