27-year-old Nery Pedro Esteban and his brother Domingo Pedro Esteban, 41, were originally from the village of Yich K’isis in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Both were members of the resistance movement of the communities that make up the micro-region of Yich K’isis, of the municipality of San Mateo Ixtatán, Huehuetenango.
There, eight communities of the Chuj, Q’anjob’al, Mestizo and Akateko peoples converge. They are resisting the construction the Pojom, Pojom II and San Andrés hydroelectric plants, planned by a company called Energía y Renovación SA.
The brothers were killed on 16 December, 2018. Their bodies were found on the banks of the Yalwitz River, where the San Andrés hydroelectric plant in San Mateo Ixtatán will be built. Both had been shot in the face.
Communal authorities documented their communication with the National Civil Police (PNC), demonstrating that although the closest police station, the 43rd commissary, is one kilometer away from where the brothers were found, police response was negligent and no officers arrived on the scene. Neither did the Public Ministry, which was responsible for transporting their bodies.
Given the negligence of the PNC, the family was notified by community leaders, who eventually agreed to take the two bodies at a quarter past ten in the evening to the community of Yich K’isis, where they were placed in the communal room. The authorities did not arrive until the following afternoon.
On the afternoon of 17 December, prosecutors from the Public Prosecutor’s Office presented themselves, accompanied by several pick up trucks carrying riot police officers that remained inside the facilities of the hydroelectric plant in the 43 commissary.