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They Demand Freedom for Environmental Leaders in El Salvador

The National Roundtable against Metallic Mining and the National Health Forum of El Salvador issued a statement on social networks asking the Investigative Court of Sensuntepeque to close the judicial process of five environmental leaders.

According to the letter, the National Board publicly demands “annulment of the criminal accusation, reversing the judicial process and/or definitively closing the case.”

They declare that the case “has no legal basis,” and that the imprisonment of these leaders put their health at risk, in addition to “incongruent situations were recorded throughout the process.”

“It has been demonstrated that the case is a manipulation of the judicial system to persecute environmental defenders to nullify or weaken anti-mining resistance, given the government’s intentions to reactivate this harmful extractive industry,” the statement continues.

According to the organizations, the “criminal accusation is inadmissible due to the National Reconciliation Law,” which has been in force again since July 2016.

For its part, the National Health Forum also said through social networks that “it is time for the Prosecutor’s Office and the Judicial System to use their time and resources to investigate and prosecute true crimes committed during the civil war.

The environmental leaders were captured on January 11, “in the midst of strong police and military activity” in the community of Santa Marta and in the offices of the Association for Social Economic Development (ADES). They were imprisoned for seven months until the Sensuntepeque Court granted them house arrest.