The Clooney Foundation for Justice announced today that its partner the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights will monitor the trial of Mexican land rights activist Kenia Hernández as part of CFJ’s TrialWatch Initiative.
Ms. Hernández, who is currently in detention and reportedly suffering from ill health, faces a litany of charges: most immediately, charges of violent robbery, which carry a potential sentence of 18 years, and for which the next hearing will be held on May 13. TrialWatch monitors criminal proceedings around the world, grades their fairness, and advocates for individuals who are unfairly detained.
There are currently four cases open against Ms. Hernández at the federal and state levels in Mexico: respectively, two for aggravated robbery and two for obstruction of public roads. (Three other obstruction of public roads charges were recently ‘archived,’ which means they are no longer active but could still be revived by the authorities.).
While Ms. Hernández has been granted bail twice, each time she has been re-arrested based on a different charge. According to defense counsel, at Ms. Hernández’s most recent bail hearing before a court considering one of the obstruction of public roads charges, the judge noted that detention was justified because ‘she protests a lot.’
Additionally, in response to defense arguments that Ms. Hernández’s status as a woman should be considered the judge noted that the court need not consider her gender because she was ‘not submissive.’ Such comments raise concerns about the lawfulness of Ms. Hernández’s detention. Reports that Ms. Hernández’s health is deteriorating are likewise concerning.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice calls on the authorities to ensure that Ms. Hernández’s detention and trial respect her human rights, including her right to a fair trial.