Last 11th of February, the Supreme Court of Justice admitted the amparo appeals that had been presented, declaring the judicial process invalid and acquitting the defenders of Guapinol. However, the six of the Sakharov Prize finalists, that have already suffered 29 months of arbitrary detention in connection with fabricated charges -as stated by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention- are still in prison. Therefore we demand the immediate release of the 6 human rights defenders.
Monica Silvana, Member of the European Parliament, S&D group, comments:
“The European Parliament and the S&D Group have followed the Guapinol case very closely, as they were finalist of our Sakharov Prize. We received with joy and justice the decision to nullify the trial by the Honduran Supreme Court, but seven days later we do not understand why this declaration of nullity is not being executed.
We demand the immediate release of all environmentalists who are still unjustly imprisoned. I believe that justice must not only be fair but must be agile to avoid more pain for the victims and their families, but also to encourage the participation of organized civil society in safe conditions.”
Tilly Metz, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA group, comments:
“We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court to declare invalid the process. This is a key milestone in the defence of human rights and the right to water in Honduras. The fight for environmental justice of the Guapinol environmental defenders is not just theirs, it’s our common goal. They never should have been imprisoned and now they should be released and repaired for their suffering.
We should not forget the ongoing environmental harm made to the Guapinol river and we ask the newly formed Honduras’ government to ensure these communities can enjoy their right to a safe and healthy environment.”
Miguel Urbán Crespo, Member of the European Parliament, the Left, comments:
“A week after the Constitutional Chamber admitted two amparo appeals and later the Supreme Court declared the process illegal, all in favor of Guapinol’s defenders, six of them are still in prison.
The local courts in Trujillo and Tocoa are extending this exemplary punishment after 29 months of illegitimate imprisonment and disregard not only the Honduran institutionality but also what hundreds of voices from the Municipal Committee of Guapinol, through Honduran and international organizations, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and from here, the European Parliament have been demanding: immediate freedom for those who defend water as a human right. Truth, justice and reparation for the eight defenders.”
The Guapinol human rights defenders are a group of members of the Municipal Committee for the Defence of Common and Public Goods of Tocoa (Comité Municipal de Defensa de los Bienes Comunes y Públicos de Tocoa – CMDBCP), a movement created in 2015 to defend their local rivers and the Botadero Mountain National Park. An iron mining project owned by EMCO Mining Company (now called Los Pinares Investments) risked contaminating the Guapinol, San Pedro and Ceibita rivers. While the mining concessions were granted, the Guapinol defenders have faced criminalisation, threats and harassment.
Eight of them were finalists of the 2020 European Parliament Sakharov Prize: José Daniel Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero, José Abelino Cedillo, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Ewer Alexander Cedillo, Orbin Nahún Hernández, Arnol Javier Alemán and Jeremías Martínez Díaz.