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Guatemala: The cases of two defenders criminalised over land disputes between community and the Chilté Cooperative are under review

Author: Peace Brigades International (PBI), Published on: 4 November 2019

“Criminalization of Jorge Coc and Marcelino Xol Cucul”, October 2019

The criminalization of Jorge Coc and Marcelino Xol Cucul, indigenous authorities from the community of Choctun Basilá (municipality of Cobán), is based on the accusation of homicide and attempted homicide relating to acts that occurred on July 13, 2017. On that day one person was killed and others were injured, all of them were members of the Chilté cooperative located in the municipality of San Pedro Carchá. Half a year later, 13 arrest warrants were issued against inhabitants of Choctun Basilá for these two crimes. Jorge Coc, who lives in Las Pacayas, about 40 minutes from Choctun Basilá where he works his land, was arrested on January 16, 2018. Jorge has declared that on the day of the events he was at his home in Las Pacayas taking care of his sick father. Marcelino Xol Cucul was arrested on March 12, 2018 by private individuals who beat him before taking him to a police station. Marcelino says that on July 13, 2017 he was teaching in a community in Chisec, several hours from the scene of the crime. Despite their testimonies of innocence, the inconsistencies in the testimonies from the witnesses to the crime and the failure of the accusers to individualize the crimes both men were formally charged and imprisoned. Their cases are currently being debated…

 

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