14 Months of Illegal Detention
Updated: Nov 1, 2020
November 1, 2020
Today, 14 months after the illegal detention of our brothers, parents, husbands, children, grandparents, we cry out -
Release illegally detained defenders now!
On November 1, seven of the defenders will have served 14 months in prison. More than two weeks ago, the legal defense team requested a new hearing for the eight imprisoned water defenders. Despite the fact that the criminal code says that a new date and time must be set 48 hours later, there is still no response.
The courts are maliciously delaying the proceedings and the defenders, and their families, are paying the cost.
The last review hearing the defenders had was a year ago when the judge ruled without legal foundation against them. Since then, the courts have refused to grant a new hearing - a blatant violation of their due process rights.
This week, the judiciary and many Honduran organizations are going on vacation. But please don't take your eyes off Guapinol. On Tuesday, we will begin a new campaign to demand the release of the Guapinol River Defenders and we hope you will join us. We will send you more information on Tuesday morning.
Last week marked two years since the brutal and arbitrary eviction of the Camp for Water and Life in Guapinol. The mining company Los Pinares had denounced the camp, which the affected communities set up to denounce the contamination of the rivers. The company filed a complaint, saying that the protesters had usurped their private property and caused damage.
Based on these false accusations, Judge Carlos Irias de León ordered the end of the camp and 1,500 state security agents were sent in to carry out his order.
The Court of Appeals later ruled that there had never been an encroachment on private property. The Guapinol camp was a legitimate expression of the community against illegal mining in Carlos Escaleras Park.
Since then, the community of Guapinol and the Municipal Committee for the Defense of Common and Public Goods have been under attack through threats, intimidation, acts of violence and judicial harassment. This has led to the illegal detention of our comrades for 14 months and aggressions and murders that go unvestigated or sanctioned that seek to paralyze people in resistance with fear.
This past week in review:
The National Network of Women Defenders held a press conference to denounce the ongoing intimidation and aggressions faced by women organized in the Municipal Committee. 👉Read their statement here.
Six representatives of the US Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo condemning the preventative detention of the defenders and urging that the US embassy in Honduras demand protection for Guapinol's defenders. 👉Read it here.
39 members of the European Union parliament sent a letter to Juan Orlando Hernández, Attorney General Oscar Chinchilla and Supreme Court President Rolando Argueta, among others, demanding that they respect national and international law and release the defenders. 👉Read it here.
People in Need published: The Guapinol Case: Why it's dangerous to protect water in Honduras. 👉Read it here.
UUSC published: The Legacy of Carlos Escaleras Looms Large Over Current Tensions in Honduras. 👉Read it here
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