Guatemala’s ex-mine security chief jailed for murdering indigenous leader


Mynor Padilla pleaded guilty to the 2009 death of firms suspected of a litany of crimes in Central America by Adolfo IchMining.

In Guatemala, a judge accepted the guilty plea of the former head of security at the largest nickel mine in Central America, who was on trial for the murder of an indigenous chief. “This is a rare prosecution reportedly linked to Canadian mining firms in the area for human rights abuses. Mynor Padilla was found guilty of murder Wednesday for the 2009 shooting death of Adolfo Ich, a teacher and community leader of Mayan “Q’eqchi” who opposed the Fenix mine outside the town of El Estor. “Guatemalan women sue Canadian mining giants for ‘horrific abuses of human rights’ Read more “For a long time we have been seeking justice,” Angélica Choc, Ich’s widow, told the Guardian after the verdict outside the courthouse in Puerto Barrios, a port city 185 miles east of Guatemala City. “It won’t bring my husband back, but I’m satisfied,” he said. Human rights organizations have accused transnational mining firms, most of them Canadian, their workers and state security forces, of a variety of violations in Central America, including the killing of opponents of the mine. Patricia Quinto, who represented Choc, a joint plaintiff in the trial, said the ruling sets an important precedent in the region. “The Fenix mining project at the time of the murder.”

Any settlements concluded in the Guatemalan court have no impact on our view of the facts or the responsibility of Hudbay in civil matters currently before the Ontario court,” a spokesman for Hudbay Minerals said in a statement to the Guardian. During the civil war between the military and leftist war between 1960 and 1996, the nickel mine had previously been operated under other Canadian ownership.”

An estimated 200,000 people, most of them indigenous Mayan civilians killed by the military, were killed during the war. Decades of violence and resistance from local indigenous groups were ignited by the land and mining rights gained by the corporations under military rule. The Fenix mine is situated on the largest lake in the world, in eastern Guatemala’s predominantly Mayan Q’eqchi region. According to the United Nations Truth Commission, the mine has been synonymous with violence for decades, including extrajudicial murders and disappearances during the civil war. After violent clashes with local protestors, the mine reopened in 2014 and is now owned by Solway Group, a Russian conglomerate.

In 2019, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court upheld a petition pending consultation with affected indigenous groups to suspend the mine’s operations. “There are many brothers and sisters in this struggle,” said German Chub, who was shot and paralyzed on Sept. 27, 2009 by mine security forces, the same day Ich was killed. Padilla, a former army lieutenant colonel, was also found guilty on three counts of negligent assault for his role in the shooting of Chub and assaults on two other indigenous men from a nearby village. How a Guatemalan journalist was put at risk by witnessing a police shootingRead morePadilla spent four and a half years in prison before he was first acquitted in 2017, which was reversed on In December 2020, after prosecutors and defense lawyers reached a plea and restitution deal, he pleaded guilty. After the verdict Wednesday, Padilla and his defense lawyers refused to comment. The full verdict will be announced officially on January 13. “For me, it’s a relief and at the same time it makes me sad,” Chub told the Guardian. “It’s taken so long for us to be heard.”


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