PBI-Honduras amplifies Amnesty International urgent action about Guapinol water defenders at risk of pre-trial detention
Photo: The Guapinol Camp in Defence of Water and Life.
That urgent action notes: “On 13 August a Court of Appeals revoked dismissals of [five] defenders belonging to the Municipal Committee for the Defense of Common and Public Assets, facing trial for defending the rivers in Tocoa (North). Eight other defenders from the Committee have been in pretrial detention for almost a year.”
The urgent action highlights: “We call on the authorities to free the 13 defenders and allow them to face trial in liberty.”
In August 2018, area residents set up a ‘Guapinol Camp in Defence of Water and Life’ in opposition to the Inversiones Los Pinares mine.
The Nation reports: “It lasted 88 days, from August 1 to October 27 of 2018.”
“The water in the Guapinol River was filling with sediment from a hydroelectric project upstream, part of the growing infrastructure for the forthcoming mine, making the prospect of using the water for drinking, cleaning, or agricultural purposes impossible.”
“[On October 27, 2018, an estimated 1,500] security forces fired volleys of tear gas before opening fire with live ammunition. In the ensuing blitz of bullets, eight civilians were injured and one activist, Levin Alexander Bonilla, was killed.”
In February 2019, twelve water defenders (criminalized for their participation in the protest in defence of the river and environment) presented themselves in court. By March 4, 2019, the charges were dropped against these defenders.
The Nation notes: “It was in August of 2019 that the charges against [another] seven of the protesters finally landed them in prison.”
Now, on August 13 of this year, a Court of Appeals revoked the dismissal ordered in March 2019 for five of the twelve defenders. This means they could face a new trial and be sent to pre-trial detention as they previously experienced.
PBI accompaniment of this struggle in photos
On February 20, 2019, PBI-Honduras was present at an information event about the impacts of mining on the Guapinol River. PBI-Honduras then accompanied community members to a government office where they filed a complaint about the lack of transparency around the mining concession granted to Inversiones Los Pinares.
On March 5, 2019, PBI-Honduras was present when the twelve water defenders received a dismissal of the charges against them.
On August 26, 2019, PBI-Honduras was present at a court hearing for the seven defenders.
On September 5, 2019, PBI-Honduras was present at the Constitutional Chamber when papers where an appeal in favour of the seven defenders was filed.
And from Canada…