Family gathers to support Edwin Espinal ahead of trial
Family and friends of 42-year-old Edwin Espinal gathered today next to a Highway 92 sign in Springwater calling for his freedom in Honduras.
"We want his complete release," says Janet Spring, Espinal's mother-in-law. "He was arrested on trumped up charges for speaking against the Juan Orlando Hernandez government after the 2017 November election".
Espinal is married to Karen Spring, who is from Elmvale. Both are human rights activists and live in Honduras.
Espinal spent 19 months in pre-trial custody before being released before his court case that is set to begin tomorrow. He is facing decades in prison if convicted.
"We are very, very nervous and apprehensive; we're really fighting to have a free and judicial trial, but in Honduras, there is so much corruption in the judicial system, and it is a very, very difficult thing to achieve," says Spring.
Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton and Barrie-Springwater-Oro Medonte MP Doug Shipley have both been trying to have Espinal released.
"We need to see Honduras step up and just make sure these judicial proceedings are fair and open," says Stanton. "That's all we're asking for here."
"It could happen to anybody anywhere as we've seen with the two Michael's in China, they're being held over there, there are people being held in jails all over we've got to help our Canadian citizens and try and give them help," says Shipley.
The trial will start tomorrow, and it's expected to last two days. No word on when a decision will come down. If Espinal is found guilty, he could face up to 25 years in a maximum-security prison.