The Activist Files

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The Activist Files is a podcast by the Center for Constitutional Rights where we feature the stories of people on the front lines fighting for justice, including activists, lawyers, and artists. We interview movement partners, our clients, and people using storytelling to create change, and look to highlight lesser known aspects of the work. Listen to our latest episode here, or subscribe through your iPhone podcast app, or directly on iTunes or Spotify!

The Activist Files Episode 6: The Legal Fight of Indigenous Bolivians Who Put Their President on Trial

On the sixth episode of The Activist Files, CCR Senior Legal Worker Leah Todd talks to attorneys Beth Stephens and Judith Chomsky, who both formerly worked at CCR and continue to collaborate as cooperating counsel on key cases. Beth and Judith represent a group of indigenous Bolivians who brought their former president to trial in the United States for ordering a military massacre that killed their family members. Mamani, et al. v. Sánchez de Lozada, a case that has spanned over a decade, went to trial this past spring – representing the first time a former head of state faced trial in the United States for human rights violations. It resulted in an historic guilty and unanimous jury verdict against the former president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. Stunningly, the judge subsequently overturned the jury verdict, and Beth and Judith are currently working with CCR to appeal. The story of Mamani is an inspiring example of what human rights litigation can achieve, and a demonstration of how, often, we must keep fighting, even after it seems we have won.

Last modified 

September 13, 2018