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While European Union shortlists Guapinol for Sakharov, lawyers present legal challenge in Honduras

- For immediate release -

Guapinol River Defenders Challenge Court Ruling that Violates Rights to Due Process, Association and Peaceful Assembly

October 12, 2020

Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Today, the Guapinol River Defenders legal defense team seeks to protect the rights of 13 people, recognized as defenders of human rights, water, the environment and life, who have been improperly prosecuted by the Public Ministry of Tocoa and the Inversiones Los Pinares mining company.

Relatives of eight defenders who were illegally imprisoned more than a year ago and members of the Committee for the Defense of the Common and Public Goods of Tocoa presented the amparos at the same time that the European Union Parliament announced that the Guapinol River Defenders and Berta Cáceres have been named as finalists for the prestigious Sakharov Prize.

The legal action responds Appeals Court resolutions, taken in March but not notified until August 2020, which violate the rights to due process, association and peaceful assembly. A ruling arbitrarily revoked the final dismissal of five highly regarded defenders, initially granted in March 2019. In addition, the Court upheld the formal indictment of eight defenders imprisoned without reasonable cause.

While criminalization continues against the Guapinol water defenders, defamation campaigns have resurfaced, endangering the lives of the defenders and their families.

In addition to the two Court of Appeals rulings being appealed today, the Constitutional Chamber admitted an amparo in September against another Court of Appeals ruling on the illegal application of the preventive detention measure that had been copied and pasted from a completely different ruling, showing once again the reckless and arbitrary nature of the courts' decisions and procedures in this case. The Constitutional Chamber has not yet issued its final judgment.

With the presentation of the amparos today, it is requested that the resolutions of the Court of Appeals of National Jurisdiction be left without effect and that the fundamental rights established in the Constitution of the Republic and international human rights treaties be guaranteed. The Court must respond to the judicial action within 48 hours.

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