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Honduras: Human Rights Monitor - January 2021

Jan 31 2021

News Source: Honduras Forum-Switzerland

Image courtesy of Honduras Forum-Switzerland

The full 25-page report is available at  https://honduras-forum.ch/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2101_AnotherMonthInHonduras.pdf

Here is an excerpt re the case of political prisoners (water defenders) from the community of El Guapinol, Tocoa, Colón Department. IRTF is part of an international solidarity movement (largely led by the Honduras Solidarity Network) to free the Guapinol 8.

Guapinol

On January 23, it was made public that the hearing of the eight Guapinol defenders planed for the next day was suspended without just cause. A week later, the Municipal Committee in Defense of the Commons and Public Goods together with other organizations published a press release. "The illegally imprisoned Guapinol River defenders must be released this week by the Court of Appeals of La Ceiba who now have the case in their hands. Last Friday, Magistrates Irasema Guillén, Rubenia Galeano, Jimmy Chirinos and Garín Enoc Urquía, received the appeal against the arbitrary December 19, 2020 ruling issued by Judge Zoé Guifarro of the Court of Appeals of Tocoa, who, without legal basis, denied to substitute the preventive measure of preventive detention during a long expected hearing. The December ruling violated the Constitution, the Criminal Procedure Code and international treaties and the defenders, in remand since September 1, 2019, now depend on the judicial independence of the Appellate Court Magistrates to put an end to their arbitrary detention." The same week, national and international human rights organizations continued to call for their liberation.

"The International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law, along with 11 international human rights organizations(1), today filed an amicus curiae brief over the continued detention of the human right activists known as the “Guapinol Water Defenders” who have spent more than 500 days in pre-trial detention for events related to a peaceful protest to protect a water source in the Carlos Escaleras National Park. The COVID19 pandemic has only compounded concerns over the defender’s health and well-being in prison."

 On January 27 a press conference and protest rally was held outside the MP yesterday demanding freedom for both the Guapinol defenders.  OACNUDH (United Nations – High Commissioner for Human Rights Office in Honduras) recalled the obligation of the justice operators to guarantee the right to defend human rights. But for the time being, they all fell on deaf ears and soon afterwards human rights defender and lawyer Edy Tábora denounced that the Appeals Court failed to emit a resolution in the case. "It is unfortunate that the only deadlines that the @PJdeHonduras strictly complies with are the vacation deadlines. What due process, what legal certainty in Honduras!"