Priscila Samayoa is a woman #HumanRights defender fighting for the release of her husband – political prisoner Bernardo Ermitaño López Reyes (Don Taño), who is currently held in a men’s prison in the city of de Huehuetenango – as well as for the release of all other political prisoners who are victims of the criminalization of the resistance in defense of land and territory.

Along with other women, wives, daughters and sisters of political prisoners in the municipalities in the North of Huehuetenango, Priscila Samayoa has promoted a series of actions aiming at creating a space that gathers the families of all these prisoners, victims of criminalization because of their #HumanRights defense.

On Wednesday 29 July, at approximately 11pm, a fire was started in the house where Priscila Samayoa and her family live.

Luckily, there was no physical harm to any person as a result of the fire, since Priscila Samayoa and the other inhabitants of the house were away from the municipality. At the time of the fire, they were at the jail visiting Mr. Bernardo López, husband of the WHRD, who is currently in prison for his work in defense of land and territory.

The economic damage from the fire has not yet been accounted for, however it is known that there remains no viable space in the house for any of the family members to continue living there.

People who were present at the scene since the night of the fire have reported that at no point did any state entity (Police, Military Police, or other) appear at the scene; there is still no information about the cause of the incident.

We at IM-Defensoras demand of the Guatemalan authorities: investigation of the causes of the fire; guarantees for Priscila Samayoa’s safety and that of the other WHRDs who fight for the freedom of the Barillas political prisoners; and an end to the criminalization of human rights defenders as a strategy to silence their struggles and to impose development models that go against community and collective rights.

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