During the last year, there have been more than 70 legal processes against individuals peacefully opposing Tahoe's Escobal mine. Many of those singled out have participated in the Committee in Defense of Life and Peace and have been leaders in the organization of the 12 community consultations carried out in the region since 2011. In each of the consultations, the population voted overwhelmingly against mining projects in their territory.
Criminalization continued during the May state of siege when Judge Carol Patricia Flores, who attempted to annul the historic genocide trial before the Constituional Court did so officially on May 20, issued at least 18 arrest warrants in a legal process filled with anomalies. Among the five arrested was Guillermo Carrera, community leader and member of the Committee in Defense of Life and Peace. After almost two months in prison, a judge in Jalapa has only just been assigned to hear Carrera's case. All of the accused are implicated in crimes related to the robbery of mine explosives in November 2012 and the detention of police officers in Santa Maria Xalapán in April 2013.
|Supporter calls for due process at the peaceful protest outside the Public Prosecutor's office. A photo of Guillermo Carrera, unjustly imprisoned for almost 2 months, hangs around his neck. (Photo: NISGUA)|
On June 19, the Campesino Unity Committee (CUC) and the Xinca Parliament filed an appeal against High Risk Court “A” judge, Carol Patricia Flores. The legal action denounced the loss of the court audio, considered to be critical pretrial evidence. According to Sergio Beltetón, legal counsel for CUC, “It is a violation of the Penal Process, which requires that all judicial hearings be electronically recorded... the judge's excuse is that the audio was lost, and that it wasn't recorded on a CD or a hard drive on the computer.”
Today, families, friends and supporters of the criminalized and jailed gathered outside Guatemala's Public Prosecutor's office to demand an end to criminalization and respect for due process. NISGUA joins our Guatemalan partners in denouncing the persecution of community and indigenous leaders legitimately defending their territory, self-determination and the right to live in a healthy environment.
|Rudy Pivaral's mother calls for due process in the case against her son. (Photo: NISGUA)|
NISGUA has been accompanying the consultation processes in the communities surrounding the Tahoe Resources mine site since 2011.