Guatemala: guilty plea in trial of indigenous anti-mining leaders murder
The former head of security at a Guatemalan nickle mine, on trial for killing a local indigenous leader, has submitted a guilty plea.
Adolfo Ich - a Maya Q’eqchi’ teacher and community leader who opposed the Fenix nickle mine - was shot in 2009. Mynor Padilla was found guilty of homicide on Wednesday 6th January. At the time of the killing the Fenix mine was owned by the Canadian company Hudbay Minerals.
In 2018 a group of indigenous woman started a law suit against the company, alleging that in 2007, police officers, soldiers, and private security personnel attacked their village of Lote Ocho, in eastern Guatemala, and burned dozens of homes in a bid to drive the community from their ancestral land. Several days later, the women say they were repeatedly raped by men linked to the mine, including some wearing uniform.
The mine reopened in 2014 and is now owned by a Russian company called the Solway Group. In 2019 the Guatemalan supreme court accepted a petition to suspend operations until pending consultation with the local indigenous communities.