PBI-Guatemala accompanies the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón at hearing for Bernardo Caal Xol
On April 5, PBI-Guatemala posted: “PBI accompanied members of the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón at the public hearing before the CSJ [Supreme Court of Justice] for the Q’eqchi’ defender Bernardo Caal Xol.”
Caal Xol is a leader of the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabón, a collective of 38 Maya Q’eqchi communities, that was formed to oppose the construction of the Oxec and Renace dams on the Cahabón River and its tributaries.
Caal Xol was sentenced to seven years and four months in jail in November 2018.
Amnesty International has declared that Caal Xol is a prisoner of conscience who has been wrongfully imprisoned. The Guatemala Human Rights Commission says Caal Xol’s criminalization was a clear act of retribution for his defence of the Cahabón River.
PBI-Guatemala adds: “The hearing was suspended due to the presentation of a recusal memorial by the complainant company [Netzone] in the process against the magistrates that make up the criminal chamber of the CSJ.”
Caal Xol’s lawyer Édgar Pérez further explains in this video that the hearing was suspended due to a challenge by Netzone, a construction company subcontracted by dam owner Oxec.
It was four workers from Netzone who pressed charges against Caal Xol in accusing him of illegal detention and robbery in October 2015.
PBI-Guatemala has accompanied it since August 2017.