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In mid-May, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders stated that the Santa Marta leaders "must be released."
On Wednesday, Alfredo Leiva, a member of the Santa Marta Social Economic Development Association (ADES), denounced that five community leaders are still in prison despite the fact that a judge ordered their house arrest on August 23.
The Directorate of Penal Centers has not yet authorized the release of the community leaders, who were arrested in January and accused of allegedly committing a murder in the context of the Salvadoran civil war (1980-1992).
The Sensentupeque Investigating Court established that the leaders must receive medical attention due to the delicate health situation verified by experts from the Institute of Legal Medicine. This provision, however, has not been able to be fulfilled.
"We demand that our comrades be released from prison immediately for reasons of humanity. A day, a few hours or a few minutes can make the difference between their life and death," ADES said, demanding a response from the prison authorities.
#ElSalvador | The Court granted house arrest for the community leaders of Santa Marta and @ades_sm. The substitutive measures were granted after the special hearing held yesterday.
Community members, national and international organizations continue to fight for their release. https://t.co/nc1xFuFz2N
On August 11, the five community leaders and environmental activists served seven months in prison. They reside in the municipality of Victoria in Cabañas, one of the departments hardest hit during the civil war due to the number of cases of human rights violations.
The leaders of the Santa Marta community gained international relevance for their fight against metallic mining in El Salvador, which was prohibited by a law approved in March 2017.
The detainees are Miguel Gamez, Alejandro Lainez, Pedro Rivas, Teodoro Pachecho, and Saul Rivas. They are imprisoned on charges of murder, deprivation of liberty, and illicit association.
Eduardo Sancho, a former commander of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) and a signer of the 1992 Peace Agreement, is also charged for this same act.
In mid-May, Mary Lawlor, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, stated that the Santa Marta leaders "must be released."