Source: Cultural Survival
On September 11th, a judge revoked ten arrest warrants that were issued against community leaders in the municipality of Barillas, Huehuetenango for alleged crimes against the Spanish hydroelectric subsidiary Hydro Santa Cruz, which plans to build a dam on a river outside of Barillas. A civil court of Santa Eulalia found the warrants were issued in violation of proper procedures, and revoked their validity. The ten individuals were accused by Hydro Santa Cruz of the destruction of property, kidnapping, and terrorism, among other charges just days after riots broke out following murder of a community leader, Andres Fransisco Miguel, who had been outspoken against Hydro Santa Cruz’ plans to build a dam on the Q’am B’alam River.
Saturnino Figueroa, of the Assembly of Peoples of Huehuetenango for the Defense of the Territory, reacted;
“We were completely convinced that there were errors of process in the issuing of these arrest warrants… the fact that the court revoked the warrants allows us to have more faith in the justice system; that they were able to admit an error and make the necessary revocations. However, the company can resubmit the claims, and we believe that Hydro Santa Cruz will continue with this medium of repression, using the justice system to their favor. But we are convinced that because this case has become national and international news, the actors in the justice system will begin to align their actions more closely with the law.”
Nine community members of Barillas still remain detained in Guatemala City’s central prison.
Learn more about the Q’anjob’al Mayan people’s fight to stop a dam on their sacred river in Guatemala. Visit our campaign and take action, here.