75 organizations say Guapinol River defenders should be released from Honduran prison by August 26

Published by Brent Patterson on

On August 11, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project visited seven of the Guapinol environmental defenders in the Olanchito prison.

The seven share the same cell in this prison, while an eighth defender, Jeremías Martínez Díaz, is being held in La Ceiba prison.

They are being held in pretrial detention for their peaceful participation in a protest camp intended to stop the Inversiones Los Pinares iron oxide mine polluting the water sources that originate in the Carlos Escaleras Mountain National Park.

Criterio has reported: “[They are being held] despite the opinion and recommendations issued by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions and the amparos presented by Honduran civil society organizations to remedy the ruling issued by the judiciary.”

On August 26, the legal period of two years of preventive detention expires for these defenders.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office has filed a request with the Sentencing Court of Trujillo asking for an extension of the pre-trial detention for the defenders.

In response, 75 organizations submitted this letter stating that the request for an extension of the two-year pre-trial detention should be denied.

Two of the signatories are the University of Guelph (Canada) and the Comité por los derechos humanos en America Latina (Canada).

They cite the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions opinion from November 2020 that the defenders should be released immediately.

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

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