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Paraguayan leader Ruben Villalba, who has been imprisoned pending trial for over 28 months accused of being one of the people responsible for the Curuguaty massacre that took place in June, 2012, was sentenced last Friday, February 13, to seven years in prison by the Salto del Guaira Court, for an action he carried out to avoid eviction from occupied lands in 2008.
In an interview with Real World Radio, Gustavo Noguera, Ruben Villalba´s lawyer, stated that the trial shouldn´t have even taken place after over six years: “In Paraguay, all cases expire after the time of the maximum sentence to be applied for the crime passes. And the maximum sentence in this case is three years”.
The trial was held under “too many irregularities and misinterpretations of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedural Code. They interpreted that the case did not expire, since there was an interruption of the statute of limitations while he was in contempt”, said Noguera. However, “our legal system is clear: whether he was subjected to Justice or was in contempt, when the double of time of the maximum sentence passe, ,the right of the State to pursue the case expires”, said the lawyer.
In addition to dismissing these arguments, the court also disregarded other irregularities pointed out by the defense, such as the introduction of new evidence and witnesses to the case. The trial for the Curuguaty Massacre on Villalba and other 15 peasants is still pending. The latest hearing was delayed for June, 2015, which will mark a total of three years of preventive detention for the peasants.
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
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