PBI-Guatemala accompanies Poqomchi’ community leader David Maxena Caal at court hearing

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On October 3, PBI-Guatemala posted:

“#PBI accompanies UVOC [Union of Verapaz Campesino Organizations] in the hearing of conclusions of the judicial process against community leader David Maxena, criminalized for defending his land. The sentence will be given next October 18.”

After he was arrested in February, UVOC posted:

“We ask for freedom of comrade David Maxena, defender of life and the mother of earth, accused of aggravated usurpation by the Santa Teresa Hydroelectric Company of the municipality of Tucuru A. V. The Q’echi Chintun Indigenous Community owns their territory where they have a cemetery more than 100 years of existence we demand justice and freedom for Maxena.”

Former United Nations Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has given the example of how the charge of “usurpation” is used as when “Indigenous peoples become trespassers or illegal occupants of their own lands.”

PBI-Guatemala has accompanied Maxena throughout this court process this year.

Accompanying Maxena in court, August.

Accompanying Maxena in court, July.

Visiting Maxena in prison, June.

Accompanying Maxena in court, June.

Accompanying Maxena in court, May.

Accompanying Maxena in court, April.

Accompanying Maxena in prison, April.

UVOC has previously posted: “Months in prison without committing any crime. Since February 14 of this year, the Mayan Poqomchi’ community leader David Alejandro Maxena Caal, defender of human rights and mother land, was detained.”

UVOC adds: “The Santa Teresa Hydroelectric and the Shintun Agriculture S.A. municipality of San Miguel Tucuru, are the main plaintiffs against the communities that were stripped of their land that was an ancestral belonging to them.”

The Santa Teresa dam is situated on the Polochic River, which discharges 70 per cent of the total freshwater input to Lake Izabal.

PBI-Guatemala has previously explained: “UVOC has 367 affiliated communities (about 50,000 families); 98% of which are Indigenous Maya Q’eqchi’, Poqomchi’ and Achi. Among other activities UVOC provides legal advice to numerous rural communities to legalize land, accompanies them in processes to defend their right to land.”

The Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project has accompanied the Union of Verapaz Campesino Organizations (UVOC) since 2005.

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