PBI-Canada watching as trial of Guapinol River protectors resumes in Honduras
Photo: PBI-Honduras was present on December 14 as the legal team representing the Guapinol defenders filed a writ of habeas corpus seeking their release. Libertad para Guapinol comments: “Despite having the duty to immediately resolve the legal action, the Constitutional Chamber has failed to do so.”
On January 12, Criterio reported (in Spanish):
“The trial against the eight defenders of the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers will resume this Thursday, January 13, and will last until Thursday, January 27, announced the Court of Judgment of Colón, based in Trujillo. This without the Supreme Court of Justice having referred to the habeas corpus admitted on December 14.
In addition to this, the Justice for the Peoples Law Firm, part of the legal team that defends the eight environmentalists who have been under arbitrary detention for more than two years, published on its social networks that, despite the fact that the Court has shown a lack of independence, the Court of Appeals of La Ceiba declared the recusal against the judges without place.
This after the judges admitted a fourth crime, three years after the events for which Guapinol’s defenders are being tried occurred. The crimes for which they were being charged until a month ago were: unjust deprivation of liberty against Santos Corea, aggravated arson against Santos Corea, aggravated fire against Inversiones Los Pinares.
The fourth and new crime promoted by the Public Ministry (MP) and the private accusation is of aggravated damages. This new case was arbitrarily incorporated by the Court of Tocoa, composed of Judges Ricardo Geovanny Rodríguez, Franklin Marvin Arau Santos and Henry Geovanny Duarte Zaldivar.
The trial has been suspended twice. The first was due to the irresponsibility of the Public Prosecutor’s Office when it stated on the second day of the hearings that it still did not have at its disposal the means of evidence against the accused before the Tribunal and the defence team; and the second time after the MP and Court of Tocoa incorporated the fourth crime.
On the incorporation of this new accusation, the Observatory for Justice of the Defenders of the Guapinol River, through Karol Bobadilla, denounced that “the resolution that was issued by the Court was an arbitrary resolution and that it exceeds what had been requested and had also established the parties within their arguments”. Likewise, it was concerned that such incidents would occur at the opening of the trial and therefore requested the Court to replace that decision.
The eight defenders of the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers have been deprived of their liberty for more than 28 months, despite being recognized environmental defenders and that the United Nations Working Group on Illegal Detention concluded that their detention was arbitrary and should be released as soon as possible. They also called for a thorough and independent investigation of the judges and prosecutors who promoted the trial.
The recommendation was made at the end of February 2021 and almost a year later Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz, José Abelino Cedillo Cantarero, José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbin Nahún Hernández, Arnold Javier Alemán and Jeremías Martínez Díaz, continue to be arbitrarily detained.”
The original article can be read at Juicio contra defensores de Guapinol se reanuda sin que la CSJ haya resuelto habeas corpus.
More from Libertad para Guapinol can be read at Guapinol trial resumes Thursday as Supreme Court fails to rule on arbitrary detention.
This tweet highlights that a Camp for Justice and Freedom will be installed this morning.