PBI-Honduras accompanies celebration after Supreme Court orders immediate release of criminalized Guapinol River defenders

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On the evening of February 10, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “PBI accompanies the celebration after learning that the Constitutional Chamber grants protection to the 8 defenders of Guapinol, the trial is annulled and they will be released.”

This morning, PBI-Honduras also tweeted: “We trust that this release will be immediate and that the safety of the defenders, their families and their communities will be ensured. From the communities they remember that the defense of common goods continues until the mining license is annulled.”

Proceso Digital reports: “The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), granted on Thursday [February 10] two appeals for amparo in favor of the eight environmental defenders in the Guapinol case, which means that the guilty sentence [issued on Wednesday February 9] is annulled for six of them and their immediate release is ordered after carrying out the respective administrative procedures.”

That article adds: “In the city of Tocoa, Colón, a caravan of vehicles took to the streets to celebrate the court ruling and shouted slogans of joy in favor of the eight natives of that area of the country.”

The Associated Press further reports: “One day after six Honduran environmental activists were convicted for alleged actions against a mining operation, the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber unanimously sided with the defendants on two long-standing appeals and threw out their case late Thursday [February 10].”

“The Constitutional Chamber ruled on appeals from 2020 and February 2021 that challenged how the men’s case was handled. The court did not say why its decision came one day after their convictions.”

“Prosecutors had alleged the activists damaged private property and illegally held a security expert during a clash with the mine’s security team. But advocates have long asserted that the arrests were arbitrary and aimed at quelling protests against the [Los Pinares iron oxide] mine [in Carlos Escaleras Mejía National Park].”

That article adds: “Kenia Oliva, their lawyer, explained that the Constitutional Chamber determined their due process rights were violated from the very beginning. ‘They should have been freed in the initial appearance [back in 2019],’ she said.”

PBI-Honduras has accompanied the criminalized defenders of the Guapinol and San Pedro rivers for the past three years.


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