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Rights Action
September 20, 2016
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Lawyers Denounce Attack against Angelica Choc, lead plaintiff in human rights lawsuits against Hudbay Minerals
 
(Statement by Klippensteins Barristers & Solicitors, September 19, 2016, Toronto, Canada)
 
In the early hours of September 17, unknown assailants opened fire on Angelica Choc’s house in El Estor, Guatemala while she lay sleeping inside with two of her children.  The next day, bullet marks were found on the concrete walls of her house, and 12-gauge shotgun casings and 22-calibre bullet casings were found nearby.

 
(2012 - Angelica meeting with Klippensteins lawyers, in Toronto)

Angelica Choc and her lawyers believe that this attack was targeted and was intended to send a message to Ms. Choc and others who are seeking justice for human rights abuses committed by mine company security personnel in 2007 and 2009.  In particular, they believe that this attack was a direct result of Ms. Choc’s continued role as lead plaintiff in the civil lawsuits in Canada against Hudbay Minerals and its former subsidiary CGN for the brutal killing of her husband Adolfo Ich in 2009 and the related ongoing murder prosecution of the former head of security for the mining project, Mynor Padilla.
 
“The fact that Angelica’s house was shot at just before the Guatemalan criminal court is to decide whether the former head of mine security is criminally responsible for the brutal killing of her husband is no coincidence,” said Murray Klippenstein, Angelica Choc’s Canadian lawyer. “It is meant as a signal to all involved, including the judge who must decide whether Mr. Padilla is guilty.”
 
Guatemala is one of the most dangerous places in the world to speak out in defence of human rights. Criminal prosecutions are rare, and attacks against those who seek justice are common.  Attacks against prominent human rights defenders have intensified in 2016.
 
“I am very concerned that Hudbay’s continued irresponsible defence of both the civil lawsuits in Canada and the criminal prosecution in Guatemala have done nothing to dissuade this kind of attack in Guatemala against our clients, and in fact their failure to own up to what happened in the past and take steps to punish those responsible make it more likely this will happen again, but maybe much worse,” said Mr. Klippenstein.
 
“This attack on Ms. Choc is abhorrent.  We expect Hudbay, CGN and their lawyers to denounce this attack in the strongest possible terms lest their silence be interpreted by those who did this as tacit approval of their actions.”
 

More Information
Murray Klippenstein, murray.klippenstein@klippensteins.ca
Cory Wanless, cory.wanless@klippensteins.ca
Klippensteins, Barristers & Solicitors
160 John St., Suite 300
Toronto ON M5V 2E5
tel.: 416-598-0288

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Emergency Funds Needed
Since 2004, Rights Action has supported the community, land and Mother Earth defense struggles of the Mayan Q’eqchi’ people in the El Estor región, Izabal, Guatemala.  Rights Action is sending emergency funds to the families of Angelica and German Chub (who lives nearby) so they can take extra measures of family safety, and so that Angelica and her family can travel to Morales and Guatemala City to denounce this attack before the proper authorities and the media. To donate, make check payable to "Rights Action" and mail to:
  • U.S.:  Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887
  • Canada:  (Box 552) 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
Credit-Card Donations
More Information
Grahame Russell, grahame@rightsaction.org, 416-807-4436
 
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