PBI-Canada watching as verdict to be read today in the trial of the Guapinol River defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo by Criterio.hn.

A court in Tocoa, Honduras will issue a judgement today on the Guapinol River defenders.

Yesterday, PBI-Canada watched via Zoom the conference titled “The Truth Behind the Guapinol Case: How the State fabricated a case to punish water defenders in Honduras” that took place at the Hotel Plaza Juan Carlos in Tegucigalpa.

The video of that conference can be seen here.

EFE reports: “The arrest of eight water defenders in Honduras for opposing [the Los Pinares iron oxide] mining project ‘is arbitrary’ and the process is full of ‘illegalities’ and ‘irregularities’, experts said Tuesday at a forum in which they called for the release of the accused.”

It is feared that the defenders could be sentenced to 36 years in prison.

Lawyer Edy Tabora says: “They want to teach and send a lesson to all the social movements in the country that the extractive company is powerful enough to criminalize all those people who oppose energy mining projects in the country.”

Tabora has further commented that the Honduran Public Ministry has shown in the Guapinol case that “it is at the service of private enterprise and that the extractive company dictates the guidelines of what to do in each judicial process.”

That said, Tabora says that the trial legally “is won”, so the ruling should be an acquittal in favor of the environmentalists.

Juana Zúniga, one of the leaders in the protection of the Guapinol River, also spoke at the conference yesterday in Tegucigalpa.

She says: “Defending water is not a crime, it is defending our life.”

The Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project has accompanied for more than 3 years the defenders of the Guapinol River. It says: “We remain by your side and we trust that the liberation and integral reparation established by the United Nations will be fulfilled.”

For more on yesterday’s conference, please see the EFE article Expertos: Proceso contra defensores en Honduras está lleno de irregularidades and the Criterio.hn report Con pruebas falsas y manipulaciones, el MP pretende encarcelar a los defensores de Guapinol.

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