Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015. 2:26 pm CST.
By Dalila Ical: The charges against the Santa Cruz 13 have been reduced. The announcement was made yesterday when the 12 villagers and Cristina Coc appeared once again in court for the charge of unlawful imprisonment.
The group had been arrested on June 24th after an incident in Santa Cruz Village, where the accused villagers detained Rupert Myles on the grounds of him destroying the Uxbenka Mayan monument within the village. Myles had been constructing his house on the mound and villagers say that following several requests for him to stop they decided to force him out. The incident sparked immediate controversy and outrage on social media as the images that were published and initial reports claimed Myles was being subject to racial discrimination.
Myles filed a report and authorities detained the villagers at the wee hours of the morning of June 24th. They were jointly charged for unlawful imprisonment. That charge however was withdrawn by the prosecution. They still have to face trial for the charge of common assault while four villagers have an additional charge of aggravated assault.
In an interview with 7 News, Cristina Coc said they did not believe the charge would hold in court and the group is pleased with the news. She added though that they are not very pleased that, “there has been absolutely no action on the part of the Institute of Archaeology or NICH and we have been through our attorneys, been trying to get in touch with the Institute of Archaeology to ask and to get information on what steps have been taken. We have not had any response, whether verbally or in writing”.
Meanwhile, Rupert Myles told 7 News that he is convinced the issue is racial and said that he was merely defending his rights and that of his family. The Santa Cruz 13 will be back in court on February 17th, 2016.
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