PBI-Guatemala accompanies Human Rights Law Firm at hearing of police officers in the deaths of Q’eqchi’ community members from Samococh
On July 26, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted: “PBI accompanies the Human Rights Law Firm at the hearing on the Samococh case. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unavailability of rooms to start the stage of oral and public debates, the hearing was postponed to December 12.”
PBI-Guatemala has explained: “More than 20 PNC officers are accused of extrajudicial execution, non-compliance with duties and abuse of authority for having caused the death of three Q’eqchi’ community members from Samococh village in Chisec, Alta Verapaz, during a demonstration [on August 15, 2014].”
And Prensa Comunitaria has previously noted: “As a result of the PNC’s actions, three community members were assassinated: Sebastián Rax Caal, 29, Luciano Can Cujub, 40, and Óscar Chen Quej, 22.” The three died from gunshot wounds.
Prensa Libre further notes: “The events date back to the violent eviction carried out by the PNC on August 15, 2014… The confrontation occurred when dozens of police tried to evict peasants who had blocked the road from Chisec to Raxruhá, Alta Verapaz, to prevent the transfer of two leaders of the Peasant Development Committee [CODECA].”
“The PNC agents who arrived came from Cobán, where the Public Ministry successfully evicted some 160 families who were occupying the Santa Rita and Santa Rita Xalahá Canguini farms. In the first community [Santa Rita], families lived to avoid the construction of a hydroelectric plant [that lacked their free, prior and informed consent].”
That article adds: “The PNC tried to capture local leaders Rafael Chub and María del Carmen del Cid, which generated discontent among the residents and the confrontation.”
The first hearing was to begin on July 5 but was delayed until July 26 because two defendants have COVID-19. TN23 reported that defence lawyers asked that the trial be postponed until 2022. As noted above, the next hearing date will be December 12.