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They were detained after alerting the public about a possible reactivation of metal mining in their community.
On Thursday, the Association for Social Economic Development (ADES) filed a legal appeal in favor of the Santa Marta's community environmental leaders who remain detained and accused of murdering a woman in 1989.
Before the Sensuntepeque Court, their defense attorney Denis Muñoz requested alternative measures to preventive detention, arguing that they are in delicate health conditions. Three months ago, however, this same Salvadoran court rejected a similar petition.
On several occasions, ADES has warned about the dangers imprisoned leaders face, especially one of them who was transferred to the Izalco Prison.
On May 16, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor, asked the Salvadoran State to release the Santa Marta activists. The administration of President Jayib Bukele, however, has not responded to that request so far.
.@no_mineria_sv took to the streets to urge the government to ban mining and demand "the protection of territorial defenders & the release of the leaders and environmentalists of the Santa Marta Community & ADES.” They urge our “common home cries out for #EnvironmentalJustice." pic.twitter.com/Q3ufr9PCdo
“We express our serious concern about the alleged misuse of criminal law against human rights defenders, as well as their provisional detention and the alleged restrictions on their communications with their relatives and their legal team,” she said.
“We fear that the case is an attempt to intimidate those who seek to defend the environment in the country, and especially those who defend the human rights of the negative impacts of mining,” Lawlor added.
The Salvadoran community leaders were detained after alerting the public about a possible reactivation of metal mining in Santa Marta. They are accused of a crime that occurred during the civil war in this Central American country.