In Guatemala, TrialWatch monitored the trial of indigenous land rights activist Abelino Chub, who was detained for over two years prior to trial based on allegations sparked by a private company that he had been involved in burning down trees on a plantation. It will also monitor the trial of Award-winning Guatemalan journalist and Founding Director of El Periódico, José Rubén Zamora, was arrested on July 29, 2022 and has been in detention ever since.
Abelino Chub’s case was brought against the backdrop of the “shrinking of civic space, particularly for human rights defenders” as well as “a sharp escalation of violence against human rights defenders [and] the misuse of criminal law within the justice system to hinder the[ir] work,” noted by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. The report on the case concluded that the prosecution had the improper goal of obstructing Mr. Chub’s advocacy.
Abelino Chub was charged with burning down trees and fields on a plantation operated by Cobra Investments, a banana and palm company located in the Izabal region of Guatemala. While Mr. Chub was ultimately acquitted, his unjustified pretrial detention constituted a gross violation of human rights.See the Fairness Report
Award-winning Guatemalan journalist and Founding Director of El Periódico, José Rubén Zamora, was arrested on July 29, 2022 and has been in detention ever since. Zamora, who has written extensively about human rights violations and corruption, faces a range of charges, including money laundering, “influence peddling,” and blackmail. He faces up to 34 years in prison if convicted of all charges. TrialWatch announced in November 2022 that it will be monitoring his trial.