Monday, July 09, 2007

Verdict for political prisoners in El Salvador, and what happens next

PICA Friends-

Last week I sent out a series of alerts concerning the arrests of CRIPDES leaders and community members in El Salvador. Thanks to all of you who contacted Salvadoran officials and the US Embassy. On Saturday, at a preliminary hearing, the judge granted liberty to Facundo Dolores GarcĂ­a, from the community of Santa Eduviges, in Suchitoto. The judge maintained the charges of terrorism for the other 13 detainees and has decreed "Preventative Prison" for 3 months for them. They could ultimately face prison terms of up to 40 years.

According to US-El Salvador Sister Cities, " The guilty verdict appears to be provisional, granting another 3 months to collect more evidence to substantiate and give a definitive sentence under the Anti-Terrorism law, or present more arguments for the defense. We understand that the defense is allowed to submit an appeal within 3 days, beginning on Monday."

USESSC and other organizations will be meeting today to consider how best to respond to these events, support our colleagues in CRIPDES, and defend the Salvadoran popular movement. As soon as decisions are made about a strategy for proceeding, and there are concrete actions for us to take here in Maine, I will let you all know.

If you haven't already visited the site, the USESSC Web site has an excellent hour-by-hour account of the events at the hearing on Saturday, which not only provides a lot of factual information, but gives a real sense of the nature of the struggle that is unfolding -


Jon Falk

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