On October 27, PBI-Honduras posted: “PBI accompanies the sit in against #ZEDEs and in favour of the liberation of the defenders of @guapinolre pending judicial resolution. The Office in Honduras of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recalls that there is no legal basis to maintain the preventive detention measure.”

Honduras Solidarity has also posted: “Still no ruling on bail for the Guapinol defenders. One of their lawyers explains that the authorities have violated the law already by keeping them so long in pre-trial detention in prison. The UN has called for their release also.”

When the court hearing began on October 26, Kathy Price of Amnesty International Canada tweeted: “Ongoing detention of Guapinol #waterdefenders is arbitrary, says the UN, & calls for their immediate release in #Honduras. @AmnestyNow joins calls on @PJdeHonduras [Supreme Court of Justice] to comply during bond hearing today. Many eyes in Canada are watching! #FreedomForGuapinol #WaterIsLife”

The eight water defenders who have been held for 26 months in arbitrary detention are: Ewer Alexander Cedillo Cruz, José Abelino Cedillo Cantarero, José Daniel Márquez Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero Martínez, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Orbin Nahún Hernández, Arnold Javier Alemán and Jeremías Martínez Díaz.

These defenders are being criminally prosecuted for peacefully protesting the installation of an open-pit iron oxide mine in Carlos Escaleras National Park, after contamination of the Guapinol River and the San Pedro Sector appeared.

That trial for the Guapinol water defenders is scheduled to begin on December 1.

The Municipal Committee for the Defense of Common and Public Goods of Tocoa and other organizations are demanding that the Court allow the presence of national and international observers in the judicial process to guarantee transparency and compliance with other human rights obligations.

They also ask that the Supreme Court guarantee family members and other human rights defenders a simultaneous video and audio transmission to make transparent a judicial process typical of a member country of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

PBI-Canada continues to follow this closely.

On Saturday, November 6, Honduran environmental rights defender Juana Ramona Zuñiga will be speaking on the PBI COP26 and land defenders webinar. To register to hear her speak, click here. Juana’s husband José Abelino Cedillo is one of the Guapinol 8 currently in prison for opposing the Los Pinares iron oxide mine.