On September 5, the Peace Brigades International-Honduras Project posted, “This morning we accompanied the Committee for Free Expression [a coalition of journalists and civil society representatives] to the Constitutional Chamber, where they signed a Habeas Corpus appeal in favour of the eight defenders of the Guapinol territory who have been in preventive detention since last Sunday.”
PBI-Honduras adds, “This resource is intended to review whether the requirements to adopt that resolution were met.”
ACI-Participa further explains, “The appeal is that this Chamber of the CSJ [la Corte Suprema de Justicia] review the actions of the Judge and if the necessary requirements were met for the magistrate to take that resolution. The measure is clearly illegal, so within the next 24 hours a ruling from the Constitutional Chamber is expected.”
On September 2, Prensa Latina reported, “The director of the Committee for Free Expression, Edy Tábora, who is also part of the environmental defense lawyers, denounced that the trial is plagued by irregularities.”
That article adds, “Initially the environmentalists had been charged for the crimes of illicit association and illegal carrying of weapons. …[They] are now in preventive detention for the crime of aggravated fire, dictated by a judge of national jurisdiction.”
In August 2018, area residents set up a ‘Guapinol Camp in Defence of Water and Life’ in opposition to the Inversiones Los Pinares mine. Many oppose this mine inside the Carlos Escaleras National Park because it is causing damage to the Guapinol River, the source of drinking water for 14 nearby communities and about 42,000 people.
In October 2018, 1,500 Honduran military and police officers evicted the camp.
Twelve of the water defenders who had been at that camp went on trial in late February of this year. PBI-Honduras, along with CEHPRODEC [the Honduran Centre for the Promotion of Community Development] and C-Libre, accompanied that trial.
On August 26, PBI-Honduras was also present for an initial hearing of seven of the additional water defenders noted above. Those water defenders were referred to judicial detention at the Tamara Penitentiary where they are still being jailed.
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee has stated, “This confinement is just one of numerous due process failures plaguing this case, including the fact that one of the defenders is now being tried inside a military base. The water defenders must be released and all the charges dropped – protecting the human right to water is never a crime.”
PBI-Honduras has accompanied C-Libre since January 2018.