news source: GuapinolResiste
In just three weeks, eight water defenders from Guapinol and Sector San Pedro in Honduras will go to trial. In what is yet another arbitrary ruling, judges Franklin Marvin Arauz Santos, Ricardo Rodríguez Barahona and Henry Geovany Duarte Zaldivar notified the legal team yesterday that the trial location will move to La Ceiba - their motivation? Ensuring no one exercizes their right to protest during the legal proceedings.
After the recent bond hearing concluded, just a couple of weeks ago, the defenders were told by the Judges that the court would rule on whether or not to release them within 24 hours - which is what the Criminal Procedural Code establishes. The family members of the defenders didn't wait for the ruling outside the court - they traveled by busloads more than an hour away to the jail in Olanchito to be with their loved ones - albeit with a fence between them - to await - with hope - the verdict. Late that night, after no news and after the Court clearly passed the established time to deliver its ruling, the families returned home.
The verdict never came - and the Court started saying it actually had three days to emit a verdict - in complete contradiction to the CPP and its commitment two days earlier to emit the ruling in a timely fashion. Sources inside the court said that the judges were waiting for a call from Supreme Court President Roland Argueta before they could emit their ruling.
The families and the Committee denounce the participation of the Court in a stigmatization campaign against them and the detained water defenders and alert the national and international community of possible reprisals against the defenders, their families, the Committee and their supporters for the bad faith actions of the Trujillo Court.
Based on their actions, the Trujillo Court should not hear the trial of the Defenders. We denounce the collusion between the Judiciary and Lenir Perez/Grupo Emco to maintain the arbitrary detention of the defender; the lack of transparency and the failure to comply with basic due process guarantees. We demand judicial independence and impartiality and that the trial be moved to a suitable courtroom in Tegucigalpa to ensure full publicity, live transmission and in-person observation.