Springwater calls on federal government to act on Espinal
Janet and Karen Spring with Springwater Mayor Don Allen, in April 2018 photo
By Kate Harries AWARE News Network
Springwater Township Council has called on Canada “to stand by its stated position in support of human rights and the rule of law in Honduras,” demanding that the Honduran government of Juan Orlando Hernández drop charges against political prisoner Edwin Espinal and release him immediately.
The resolution, which is to be sent to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, was passed unanimously after Dave Spring, brother of Espinal’s spouse Karen Spring, addressed council, thanking them for their support since they first passed a motion calling for the federal government to act in this case, almost a year ago.
“My brother-in-law Edwin Espinal has been in prison for 14 months due to speaking out against the corrupt government of Juan Orlando Hernández,” Spring said.
There has been no response from the federal government to Springwater’s April 2018 resolution, which subsequently led to an e-petition signed by 954 people that was recently presented in the House of Commons by Barrie–Springwater–Oro-Medonte MP Alex Nuttall.
“It’s important to keep the pressure on,” said Springwater Mayor Don Allen, recognizing the “incredible efforts” of the Spring family. He added that council has been kept up to date on this issue by the family as well as through discussion with Nuttall and Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton.
“It’s important to keep pushing as a council, to the politicians, to county council because this motion will go to county council as well,” Allen said.
Spring told council that, following a Honduran court hearing on February 18, a three-judge panel agreed with Espinal’s lawyers that his case was at the wrong court level and should be moved to a lower court, “an action we have asked for since he was first arrested.”
Spring added: “Edwin’s lawyers have stated publicly that this new ruling further demonstrates that Edwin’s constitutional rights have been violated and that all charges should be dropped.”
Espinal’s health has been severely impaired by the horrific conditions in the Honduran jail in which he is being held. A human rights activist who had worked with indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, he was arrested in January 2018 on trumped-up charges during massive protests following an election result that kept Hernández in office.
International observers, including the Organization of American States, noted numerous irregularities in the November 26 2017 election, including intrusion into the computer system, missing votes and statistical improbabilities.
But Canada moved swiftly to recognize Hernandez, who has became a political ally of Freeland’s with regard to efforts by the Lima Group to intervene in Venezuela.
Motion presented by Mayor Allen in accordance with section 8.46 of the Procedure By-law regarding the Honduras Rights Monitor:
Whereas no response or action to the Springwater Township Council Resolution of April 23, 2018 has come forward from the Canadian Government, specifically the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and Canadian Ambassador to Honduras, James Hill; and,
Whereas Edwin Espinal, a Spring family member that resides in Springwater Township, remains unjustly incarcerated in La Tolva National Penitentiary prison in Honduras, now for a period of 14 months; and,
Whereas a recent Honduran Tribunal Court has ruled that Edwin Espinal’s legal case has been sent to the wrong jurisdiction court; and,
Whereas this a violation of Edwin Espinal’s constitutional rights; and,
Whereas almost one thousand Canadian citizens have endorsed the Parliamentary E-Petition #1868 which advocates for Edwin Espinal’s release from prison, and was presented in the House Chamber by Member of Parliament Alex Nuttall of Barrie – Springwater – Oro – Medonte on February 20, 2019; and,
That the health, safety and overall well-being of Edwin Espinal and other political prisoners has deteriorated significantly; and,
Therefore, Springwater Township Council calls upon Canada’s Federal Government:
To stand by its stated position in support of human rights and the rule of law in Honduras; and
Impress upon the Honduran Government of Juan Orlando Hernández to release Edwin Espinal immediately and drop all charges.
And that a copy of this resolution be sent to:
Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor Committee Simcoecountyhondurasrightsmonitor.wordpress.com
MP Alex Nuttall Alex.firstname.lastname@example.org
MP Bruce Stanton Bruce.email@example.com
Ambassador James Hill, Embassy of Canada in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras James.firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Minister Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada Chrystia.firstname.lastname@example.org
Her Excellency Sofia Lastenia Cerrato Rodriguez Ambassador Embassy of the Republic of Honduras email@example.com
County of Simcoe Clerk firstname.lastname@example.org