PBI-Honduras accompanies trial of Guapinol River defenders
On January 14, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project tweeted: “PBI accompanies the oral trial against the defenders of @guapinolre. It is expected that today the Court will admit the new proposals proposed by the defense that demonstrate the illegality of the mining project on the Guapinol River in Tocoa.”
Earlier today, @guapinolre also tweeted:
– “Guapinol trial started briefly, without live broadcast. It was suspended for 30 minutes to give the defense time to review content of a USB that @MP_Honduras [Public Ministry] proposed yesterday without indicating its content or why they were presenting it as evidence.”
– “Today the Court rules on new evidence. Will it allow key witnesses and reports that demonstrate that the mining license is illegal and that this is why defenders were legitimately protesting? Will you allow secret witnesses and USB with secret info at the request of MP?”
(Update: The Court allowed defense to review USB that MP proposed yesterday without explaining content. Defense responded by rejecting the test for being manipulated videos. Even so, they do not show any illicit behavior by defenders.)
– “Court, again, does not guarantee transmission of the trial alleging lack of stable Internet connection. What do they want to hide? @PJdeHonduras [Judicial Power of Honduras] must take immediate measures to resolve the situation and guarantee transparency and publicity. We demand a fair trial!”
PBI-Honduras tweeted: “@OACNUDHHN [the Office in Honduras of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights] reminds that ‘the publicity of judicial processes, which includes transmission and observation, is an obligation in terms of #DDHH that allows transparency and respect for due process.’”
These water protectors are being criminally prosecuted for peacefully protesting the installation of an open-pit iron oxide mine in Carlos Escaleras National Park after contamination of the Guapinol River and the San Pedro Sector appeared.
Seven of the defenders incarcerated since September 1, 2019, while an eighth defender has been held since December 8, 2018.
In February 2021, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said that the detention of the Guapinol defenders was arbitrary, breached a number of human rights standards including the guarantee to a fair trial, and called for their immediate release.
Their trial began on December 1-2, resumed on December 9, but then adjourned without ruling on a habeas corpus application filed on December 14. The trial resumed on January 13 and is scheduled to continue to January 27.
From Canada, we continue to closely follow the social media updates on this trial.