PBI-Honduras accompanies Guapinol Resists as they seek freedom cards weeks after their release from arbitrary detention
On April 7, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “PBI accompanies @guapinolre [Guapinol Resists]. Defenders of human rights still do not have definitive freedom cards, so the @MP_Honduras [Public Ministry] could reopen the file. They share their concern about the environmental consequences of Lenir Pérez’s projects in the area.”
Last month, Criterio also reported: “Guapinol’s defenders have still not received their letters of freedom from the Trujillo Court.”
That article further explains: “This is a situation that recently caused harm to the defenders, who were arrested by agents of the National Police when they were going to the National Registry of Persons to process their new national identification documents, the lawyer of the Justice for the Peoples law firm, Kenia Oliva, told Criterio.hn.”
“Oliva said they have been requesting the issuance of the eight letters of freedom to the Trujillo Court since February 28. To date, the Tribunal has not fulfilled its responsibility.”
The article also notes: “Peace Brigades International expressed its concern at the detention of the defenders of the Guapinol River in a police post for not having yet received their letters of freedom. ‘The defense of human rights must be able to be carried out in conditions of freedom and security,’ the organization published.”
At that time, PBI-Honduras tweeted: “The defenders have not received their freedom cards [and] no progress in reparation for damages and investigation of arbitrary detention.”
The struggle against the Los Pinares iron oxide mine
Guapinol Resists opposes the Inversiones Los Pinares open-pit iron oxide mine in the Montaña de Botaderos Carlos Escaleras Mejía National Park.
When the company began building an access road to the planned mine site in March 2018, the tap water in Guapinol turned brown and thick with muddy sediment.
By August 2018, the community established a Camp in Defence of Water and Life that blocked the construction of the access road.
Then in October 2018, more than 1,500 police officers and military personnel began the forceful expulsion of the protest camp – and the criminalization process against the Guapinol River defenders began.
That includes the defenders who are still waiting for their freedom card.
It has now been weeks since the Constitutional Chamber annulled on February 10, 2022, their convictions, and after finally being released from prison on February 24, 2022, after 914 days of arbitrary detention.
Lenir Pérez and Inversiones Los Pinares (ILP)
Guapinol Resists has stated: “Lenir Pérez and his wife Ana Facussé, daughter of the late Honduran oligarch and businessman Miguel Facussé, are the owners of ILP. Lenir Pérez is a businessman previously linked to the execution of construction contracts illegally granted by the government of President Hernández (Global Witness 2017).”
EFE has also reported: “Los Pinares has installed a processing plant for iron oxide pellets in the municipality of Tocoa, department of Colón and has requested an ‘expansion of the area of the concession from 100 hectares to 1,000 hectares.”
We continue to follow this situation from Canada.