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Keep hope alive for Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez, imprisoned unjustly in Honduras

Posted in: Activism Guide, Honduras
    Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 16:30
    Edwin Espinal (front centre) and Raul Alvarez (behind left) in a rare moment of happiness following the marriage of Edwin and his Canadian partner Karen Spring (second from right) at La Tolva prison last October.
    Photo Credit: 
    Photo courtesy of Karen Spring

    January marks one year since Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez were arrested and sent to a military-run prison without trial, denied the chance to defend themselves against accusations they say are false.

    This injustice happened during a brutal crack-down as thousands of Hondurans took to the streets to protest alleged electoral fraud by the government of Juan Orlando Hernandez. Security forces shot at and beat protestors. Dozens were killed or badly injured. Others, like Edwin and Raul, were detained and denied their rights to due process. The crackdown was documented by Amnesty International in our report Protest Prohibited

    After one year in a maximum security prison for violent criminals, without adequate food, water, sanitation, medical attention or access to daylight and exercise, both men have lost considerable weight and their health is in danger. There is no end in sight as Amnesty has documented multiple irregularities and serious violations of their right to defend themselves.

    Help keep hope alive for Edwin, Raul and their families.

    This past October, long-time social activist Edwin Espinal married Karen Spring, his partner of 9 years and a Canadian human rights activist from Simcoe County, Ontario working in Honduras (for more, read this update). From the limited number of visits she has been allowed, Karen has seen firsthand the deteriorating state of her husband and Raul. She fears for their health and their safety inside a prison that houses violent criminals. Karen told Amnesty Canada how important it is that prison officials and government authorities in Honduras know that the eyes of the world are watching what happens and demand justice.

    Please take any of the following actions.

    The optimum time period for action is January and early February, as we attempt to increase collective pressure and create momentum for redress. Action is still possible beyond these dates.

    1. LEARN MORE

    Watch a 4-minute video about Edwin Espinal produced by journalist Jesse Freeston for the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor (with music by RW Smith)

       >>> Click here to link to the video

    2. E-ACTION

    Honduran authorities are mindful of international attention. The more signatures we can collect and deliver, the stronger our impact.

       >>>Sign our e-action here

    3. SOCIAL MEDIA

    Honduran authorities use twitter. Send them a tweet to capture their attention. Be sure to say that you are in Canada and include the handle of Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. Sample tweets to the Attorney General and the Ministry of the Interior with requests within their powers, are below. 

    4. SEND A  SOLIDARITY MESSAGE

    Edwin and Raul have told us it would help to receive messages of support that show they are not alone. Messages in Spanish are best. You can use a tool like Google Translate or write in English.

    Below are sample messages in Spanish and English, but please make your message as personal and long as you would like:

    Dear Edwin and Raul:  You are not alone! From Town/Canada, I and others are denouncing the injustices you have suffered and calling on the authorities to demand your release from jail and guarantees of due process and fair trial so that you are able to defend yourselves. Until your release, we are also demanding guarantees of detention conditions that meet international human rights standards. We are watching. We are raising our voices. Stay strong! You are not forgotten. In solidarity,

    Estimados Edwin y Raúl: No están solos! Desde Town / CANADA, yo y otros denunciamos las injusticias que han sufrido y pedimos a las autoridades su liberación de la cárcel y las garantías del debido proceso y el juicio justo para que puedan defenderse. Hasta su liberación, también exigimos garantías de condiciones de detención que cumplan con las normas internacionales de derechos humanos. Estamos pendientes. Estamos levantando nuestras voces. ¡Animo! No estan olvidados. En solidaridad,

    Send all messages to the Toronto office for delivery:

    Amnesty International
    1992 Yonge St., 3rd Floor, 
    Toronto, ON M4S 1Z7 
    Attn: Kathy Price

    5. WRITE A LETTER TO CANADA'S FOREIGN MINISTER

    Ask Minister Freeland to ensure Canada uses its economic and diplomatic relationship with Honduras to speak up for the rights and freedoms of Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez. Officials from Canada's embassy in Honduras have done so in the past, but Canada must continue to express strong concern about the injustices that have been committed and advocate firmly on behalf of freedom and fair trial guarantees for Edwin and Raul.  

    Send your letter to:

    Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs
    111 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
    Postage: None required
    Fax: 1 (613) 996-9607
    E-mail: chrystia.freeland@international.gc.ca

     

    Thank you for taking action!

    Contact campaigner Kathy Price if you have any questions.