Sonia Isabel Gáleas, Gerardina Santos Hernández and Norma Suyapa Herrera, land rights defenders in the department of La Paz and members of the Central Nacional de Trabajadores del Campo (CNTC, National Union of Rural Workers), have been incarcerated since last July, accused of misappropriating land, illegally carrying a weapon, environmental crimes, aggravated robbery, theft, and threatening national security.
On August 18, 2015, Sonia Isabel Gáleas, Gerardina Santos Hernández and Norma Suyapa appeared at an appeal hearing requested by the defense.
The Trial Court of Marcala ruled that the defenders continue to be incarcerated, with the justification that they have not proven their residence, for which they are required to present proof of employment, bank statements, and property deeds in their name.
In a previous hearing alternative measures were handed down to Maria Melecia Hernández, 74 years of age; María Emérita López, who had pregnancy complications at four months and eventually suffered a miscarriage shortly after leaving prison; and the minors Walter Rodríguez, 15; Selvín Vásquez, 13; and Olman Saddiel Chicas, 16, all of whom were accused of misappropriating land and sedition.
The WHRDs returned to their cells at the La Paz Department jail, where they are being held in subhuman conditions: they are sleeping on the ground and are held in isolation from the rest of those incarcerated.
We at the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative (IM-Defensoras) demand that the Honduran government respect WHRDs constitutional rights and stop using criminalization as a strategy to punish and deter the work of defending human rights.