Last week, ELAW partner Lottie Cunningham Wren was detained in the Managua International Airport for questioning by government agents in Managua, Nicaragua. She was later allowed to board, but her colleague, Haydee Castillo, was taken to El Chipote prison for unknown reasons, according to the Associated Press.
“Haydee and I were en route to Washington, D.C. to participate in a conference convened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,” says Lottie. “I was in a wheel chair and struggled with immigration officers who took my cell phone and my computer. They later returned my possessions, but kept Haydee’s cell phone. She spent the night in jail and was released the next day.”
Intimidation of environmental activists has hit record levels, with at least 207 killings in 2017, including 4 in Nicaragua, according to Global Witness.
“Land and environmental defenders are under attack around the world,” says Lori Maddox, ELAW Associate Director. “A diverse array of threats, harassment, intimidation, and unsubstantiated criminal charges are aimed at stifling citizens and their advocates. But the stakes are very high – protecting the natural resources upon which we all depend – and these advocates are not easily intimidated.”
We will keep you informed of our progress defending environmental defenders.
For more information about threats faced by ELAW partners in Nicaragua and our work Defending Defenders, see:
ELAW Bulletin: Environmental Defenders Under Attack
ELAW Bulletin: Threatened Miskito Activists Take Respite in Eugene
ELAW Bulletin: Defending Defenders in Nicaragua
Lottie Cunningham Wren, Photo: Brock Dolman