Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Report from Honduras January 27th: Chabelo Morales - A New Trial Begins.

Report from Honduras January 27th
Text and Photos V. Cervantes

Go here for background information on Chabelo’s case

Monday, January 27th was the first day of the new trial for campesino political prisoner Jose Isabel Morales.  More than 100 people from  from the Campesino Movement of Aguan (MCA) and Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH) maintained a vigil in front of the court house; Radio Progreso and ERIC SJ were also present. All the campesino organizations in the Aguan have plans to take part in the vigils everyday of the trial. Indigenous organizations, OFRANEH and COPINH are also participating in the support for Chabelo. 

A small number of family members, representatives of the MCA and OFRANEH and international observers were allowed in the court the first day. The defense filed a motion to recluse two of the three judges on the presiding panel because they were the same judges from the Tribunal in Trujillo who violated procedures in hearing and refusing to act on the Supreme Court ruling that Chabelo could be freed pending a new trial. The judges then decided to suspend the trial until a higher court rules on the defense motion (3-4 days).
Miriam Miranda, OFRANEH

At the opening of the trial the prosecutor laid out the case against Chabelo; what was obvious, (and highlighted by the Chabelo’s lawyers in their statement), was that they could make no concrete, particular accusations against Chabelo as an individual. They could only talk about “they coldly attacked” “they set fire”, because there is no evidence  against Chabelo himself. I also noticed that every time the prosecutor said the word, “campesino” or “campesinos” he said it with distaste. He also brought up accusations about violence and land recuperations  and other things that have absolutely nothing to do with the charges against Chabelo in order to paint a picture of a “violent campesino”. 

After the proceedings were suspended both buses from the MCA Guadalupe Carney community went to the prison to visit Chabelo. It was incredibly moving to see Chabelo surrounded by his community and family and their support. Community members and Chabelo also spent time talking about the problems of the campesino movement, the need for more unity around principles and strategies in the face of what they expect to be even more attacks on the campesinos. 

When we got back to Guadalupe Carney, we started to hear reports form people who watched the inauguration on television who told us that even on television it was really clear that hardly anyone was at the official ceremony in the national stadium but that the streets were full of resistance and protests. The FNRP reported 5 thousand people protested during the inauguration ceremony (see the FNRP photo below) 
foto from Resistencia FNRP

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