PBI-Honduras continues to accompany trial of the Guapinol River defenders
On January 27, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “PBI accompanies the trial of the 8 defenders of the Guapinol river. We recall the importance of a fair and transparent trial.”
Earlier this week, Criterio.hn reported: “After weeks of harassment on social networks, threats to relatives of the eight defenders of Guapinol and the presence of unidentified armed men inside the Sentencing Court in Tocoa, Colón, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor, asked the government to investigate the facts.”
That article adds: “From her Twitter account, Lawlor stated that in November 2021 she addressed the Honduran government in relation to the arbitrary detention of the eight defenders of Guapinol and referred to his concern that two months after that letter the threats against the defenders, their families and legal representatives continue.”
And it notes: “In November 2021, eight UN human rights experts, including Lawlor, again urged Honduras to release the eight defenders of the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers, after Honduras joined the Human Rights Council.”
Today, Erika Guevara Rosas, a human rights lawyer and Americas director at Amnesty International, also commented: “The trial of eight defenders of the Guapinol River, who have been unjustly remanded in custody for more than two years and have been declared prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International, is taking place.”
“The case file reveals multiple deficiencies in the investigation that show they are being detained solely for their defense of the right to clean water and a healthy environment.”
“This case is emblematic of the misuse of the justice system to silence defenders in Honduras and dismantle their resistance processes.”
Guevara Rosas concludes: “The government of Xiomara Castro must transform this reality, publicly recognizing the importance of the work of those who defend rights, establishing a true system of comprehensive protection, and ensuring that the Public Ministry conducts impartial and independent investigations into the violence they face.”
Seven of the defenders have been incarcerated since September 1, 2019, while an eighth defender has been held since December 8, 2018.
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 was scheduled to continue to January 27.
From Canada, we continue to closely follow the social media updates on this trial.
Guapinol Resiste tweet: “A historic day in Honduras: As Xiomara Castro takes office, the Defenders’ trial draws to a close. The PEOPLE demand justice for Guapinol.”