The criminal case against Guayabo community leaders Erik Payares, Jhon Fredy Ortega, and Santos Peña will come to a close this weekend. The judge has called the final testimonies to the stand, including CPT members who have been accompanying the process since 2013.
Large landowners often accuse social leaders, which leads to drawn-out legal processes as a tactic to silence their work. The Guayabo community has been fighting this criminal case for five years. In 2013 Rodrigo Lopez Henao illegally occupied land in the community and hired armed thugs to destroy crops, kill animals, and threaten community members’ lives. False accusations against Erik, Jhon Fredy, and Santos resulted in their arrest in 2016.
The court case has drawn on until now. This Friday, the closing statements will be made, and the judge will issue a decision by Sunday. Please pray for a fair and just decision and remember the community and the families affected by the criminalization and persecution against land defenders and human rights activists.