Urgent Action: Water Defenders at Risk of Detention (Honduras: UA 133.20)

August 26, 2020

On 13 August a Court of Appeals revoked dismissals of Juan López, Carlos Leonel, Reinaldo Domínguez, José Cedillo and Marco Ramos, defenders belonging to the Municipal Committee for the Defense of Common and Public Assets, facing trial for defending the rivers in Tocoa (North). They risk being detained before their trial in overcrowded prisons that do not meet adequate sanitary conditions to avoid the propagation of COVID-19. Eight other defenders from the Committee have been in pretrial detention for almost a year. We call on the authorities to free the 13 defenders and allow them to face trial in liberty.

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Mr. Oscar Fernando Chinchilla
Attorney General
Due to postal restrictions caused by COVID-19, please only send physical mail to the Embassy
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Marlon Ramsses Tábora Muñoz
Embassy of Honduras
1250 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202 966 2604 I Fax: 202 966 9751
Contact Form: https://bit.ly/2Cst64i
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Attorney General,

On 13 August 2020, a Court of Appeals revoked a dismissal in favor of Juan Antonio López, Carlos Leonel George, Reinaldo Domínguez, José Adalid Cedillo and Marco Tulio Ramos. They belong to the Municipal Committee for the Defense of Common and Public Assets and are accused of “aggravated arson” and “unjust deprivation of liberty” for defending the San Pedro and Guapinol rivers. Eight other defenders have been in pretrial detention under the same charges since 1 September 2019.

These defenders have no place in overcrowded prisons with restricted access to hygiene and sanitation. Pre-trial detention during the COVID-19 outbreak, with over 1,000 cases confirmed in prisons, will only put their lives and health at a greater unnecessary risk.

United Nations human rights experts have recommended States consider alternative measures to pre-trial detention to reduce risk of spreading COVID-19. In addition, the Court of Appeals ratified the definitive dismissal for the crime of illicit association for all the defenders, which was, until now, one of the legal justifications to maintain the eight defenders in preventive detention.

I call on you to take steps to ensure the 13 defenders can defend themselves in liberty and to guarantee their right to a fair trial.

Yours sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES