PBI-Honduras calls for transparency in the bail hearing for the defenders of the Guapinol River

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On December 16, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted: “This Friday, December 18, the hearing to review measures for the defenders of the Guapinol River will be held, they have been in custody for more than 15 months. It is essential to ensure the publicity, transparency and observation of this process.”

PBI-Honduras has been accompanying various processes in relation to the defenders of the Guapinol River for the past 22 months.

On the evening of December 14, Honduras Solidarity tweeted: “The Guapinol water defenders & political prisoners have been unjustly in prison for 15 months. Their legal team was just notified that they will have a bail hearing this Friday, Dec 18 at 9 am local time. WE DEMAND FREEDOM FOR THE GUAPINOL DEFENDERS!”

The past April, 20 Members of the European Parliament signed this letter to the President of Honduras and other officials expressing concern about the pre-trial detention with no sound legal justification of these water defenders.

Then in September, MEP Tilly Metz nominated the Guapinol water defenders (along with slain Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras leader Berta Caceres) for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize that honours exceptional individuals and organizations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

At the time of their nomination for the Sakharov Prize, the Brussels Times reported: “The Guapinol activists have been imprisoned after taking part in a peaceful protest against a polluting mining company in Tocoa, Honduras.”

Today, Metz tweeted: “The eight Guapinol defenders have been in pre-trial detention for more than 15 months for protecting their river from the activities of a mining company. On Friday, a hearing could finally decide to set them free. Liberty for the Guapinol defenders!”

In August 2018, the Guapinol Camp in Defence of Water and Life was established in opposition to the Inversiones Los Pinares mine. The mine is located near the source of drinking water for 42,000 people. The camp lasted for 88 days until it was evicted by 1,500 military and police officers who used tear gas and live ammunition.

PBI accompaniment

On February 20, 2019, PBI-Honduras 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 twelve Guapinol water defenders received a dismissal of the charges against them.

On August 26, 2019, PBI-Honduras was present at a court hearing for the eight defenders.

On September 5, 2019, PBI-Honduras was present at the Constitutional Chamber when papers where an appeal in favour of the defenders was filed.

For more, please see: These are the eight water defenders imprisoned in Honduras for protecting the Guapinol River.

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