Excerpt: "Morales requested the public prosecutor to have McArthur 'testify over the policy of criminalization that Minera San Rafael has been carrying out against community leaders' opposed to the Escobal mining project."
A general view of the San Rafael mine, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Tahoe Resources, in Guatemala's San Rafael Las Flores municipality. (photo: AFP)
Guatemalan Judge Orders Mining Company CEO to Appear in Court
10 May 15
A Guatemalan judge granted an anti-mining activist’s request, who accuses the company of criminalizing community leaders opposed to the mining project.
he CEO of Canadian mining company Tahoe Resources is scheduled to appear in a Guatemalan court on Wednesday in order to testify in the case of a prominent anti-mining activist, who denounces in return the criminalization of his group.
Founder and CEO Kevin McArthur was ordered to testify along with Donald Paul Gray, the Tahoe’s vice president of operations. Tahoe owns the Escobal silver mine in southeastern Guatemala, which started in 2014.
Opponents to the mining project have faced various attacks and even murders among their members, while dozens have faced repeated criminal charges.
Oscar Morales García, coordinator of the Committee in Defense of Life and Peace of San Rafael Las Flores, has been charged with threatening an executive of Minera San Rafael, a Guatemalan subsidiary of Tahoe Resources. In October 2014, Morales requested the public prosecutor to have McArthur “testify over the policy of criminalization that Minera San Rafael has been carrying out against community leaders” opposed to the Escobal mining project.
As McArthur did not comply with a previous prosecutor's order to testify in October of last year, the judge issued a new summons on April 28, even instructing the police to ensure that the two mining executives comply.
Grahame Russell, director of Right Action, welcomed the unexpected decision “in a context of endemic impunity and corruption” that affects all state institutions in Guatemala. However, the director of the Canadian-based solidarity organization was pessimistic about the outcome of the trial.
“I believe it unlikely that McArthur will appear to give evidence, and this is a testament to the culture of impunity and corruption that characterize most global mining companies that operate in Guatemala,” he told teleSUR.
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