Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras COPINH.
FB: Copinh Intibucá; twitter: @copinhhonduras
Communique on the Initial Hearing
Yesterday, after an intense campaign of struggle inside and outside the Courthouse of Intibuca, against the criminalization of COPINH, we communicate the following:
1.- Once again it was clearly demonstrated that the intent of the DESA corporation and the Public Ministry of Intibucá, in obedience to this corporation with its empty and manipulative accusations, is a posture of economic power that seeks to criminalize the historical cause of COPINH and the Lenca People. The demonstration of racism and belittlement of the Lenca People was a false witness of accusations full of lies, contradictions and even absurdity. What was even more clear was the aggression, interventionism and abuse on the part of the institutions of the State against the Lenca People in general.
2.- The witnesses and defense lawyers, headed by the compañero Víctor Fernández, played a fundamental role, making a declaration of defense that was conscious, bold, firm and demonstrated that the indigenous people of Río Blanco are in struggle, with their conviction of their legitimacy as a First People, defending their collective and individual Rights, and that there is no basis for the accusations against our compañeros for their deeds.
3.- The Public Ministry and the private accusers, at the moment of presenting their petitions to the First Court of Letters, asked for a sentence of prison with substitute measures for Aureliano Molina and Tomas Gómez, which would consist of a prohibition of being present at the “scene of the crime”, to present themselves to the Court every 15 days, and that the defense lawyer would be responsible for the behavior of both compañeros; in the case of Berta Cáceres, General Coordinator of COPINH, the accusers asked for prison.
4.- The female Judge in the case, the lawyer Lissien Lisseth Knight Reyes, DID NOT make a judgment yesterday, putting the date for a subsequent hearing to take place next Friday September 20, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. with the First Court of Letters of Intibucá. (Note: the time of the hearing has subsequently been changed to 9:00 a.m.)
5.- The company threatens to present more accusations against the three defendants, and also against other members of the Indigenous Council, the Council of Elders, and the Neighborhood Council (Patronato) of Tejera in Río Blanco.
6. Meanwhile, more police forces have been deployed and more militarization and harassment in the communities to the north of Intibucá, including in Rio Blanco. All this is a result of the signing of an agreement between the Government, the company, and indigenous and Council imposters, with the participation of SEDINAFROH, and President Porfirio Lobo Sosa.
7.- We alert the communities organized by COPINH, social movements, the Honduran resistance in general, progressive political and social forces, those who are called to the cause of the defense of nature, international solidarity and human rights organizations, that what the accusers are proposing and pushing for is the violent eviction (of the blockade) in Rio Blanco, using the repressive forces of the State; an unacceptable and shameful threat to evict the Lenca People who cannot be removed from their own territory, occupied for thousands of years, and thereby criminalizing their just and noble struggle even more.
8.- We call for struggle and acts of strong solidarity among all those who undertake actions in the face of the Honduran government. We ratify that COPINH, despite all the attacks and criminalization it is facing, will continue to develop this process of defense of the territories, the culture, the spirituality and the common goods of nature, of the Lenca People and for dignity.
Rivers are Not for Sale: They are to Protect and Defend!
With the ancestral strength of Icelaca, Lempira, Mota and Etempica, we raise our voices full of life, freedom, dignity and peace!
NO MORE CRIMINALIZATION OF COPINH’S STRUGGLE!
La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras - September 14, 2013