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Guatemala: Indigenous land defender, accused of inciting community members to set fire to palm oil crop, is acquitted of all charges

“Indigenous land defender freed by court after two years in prison”, 28th April 2019

…Last week, Indigenous Maya Q'eqchi' land defender Abelino Chub Caal was found innocent in a Guatemalan court of trumped up charges that have kept him in jail for more than two years. Chub was on trial for defending unceded Maya Q'eqchi' territory from powerful business interests. He has worked with the Guillermo Toriello Foundation for the past ten years defending this territory from agribusiness, hydroelectric and mining companies, notably the Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel (CGN) mining company [part of Soloway Group]…Judge Gervi Sical stated in Guatemala City courtroom, "This Court, unanimously, acquits of all the charges."…Chub had been accused of inciting community members to set fire to the palm oil crop at the Plan Grande estate…as well as unlawful association for acting as a mediator when the police moved to evict 350 people from the El Murciélago estate in October 2016. Al Jazeera has explained, "Plantations of oil palm, also known as African palm, are taking over large swaths of southwestern and northeastern Guatemala, including the Alta Verapaz, Izabal, and Peten departments home to Q'eqchi' communities."…After the ruling that found Chub innocent of all charges, the land defender stated, "The fight goes on, not a step backwards."... 

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