Free Guatemalan human rights defender Rubén Herrera!
Rubén Herrera was arrested as he left his house in Huehuetenango district, Guatemala on March 15 this year. He is still in prison more than two months later. Rubén has been an active community organiser, working on many environmental and social justice campaigns and bringing together networks and organisations commited to social good for most of his adult life.
The flimsy reasons for his arrest – including incitement and kidnapping – were decisively refuted during a hearing on March 19. However, despite requests by Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor to dismiss the case due to a lack of evidence, the judge ordered that the case continue. Rubén is due to return to court on May 30.
Rubén’s unjust detention is part of a deeply disturbing cycle of criminalization of human rights and environmental activists in his part of Guatemala (Barillas, Huehuetenango). Spanish company Hidralia SA is building a hydroelectric dam in the area, despite 90% of local community members having voted against the implementation of hydroelectric and mining projects in a community consultation. Local communities have repeatedly implicated the company in political repression, intimidation and manipulation of local and national legal processes in recent years. Rubén has been involved in efforts to demand that the company pull out of the area.
Join us in demanding that the Guatemalan authorities release Rubén Herrera immediately and take all necessary steps to end the criminalization of human rights and environmental activists.
Please sign the letter below that will be sent to the relevant Guatemalan and Spanish authorities. Take action now!