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Honduras convicts former leader of murder of environmental activist Berta Caceres

In this archive photo taken on March 8, 2018, Roberto David Castillo, then suspected of being involved in the murder of Honduran activist Berta Caceres, is escorted as he leaves the criminal court in Tegucigalpa after his hearing was postponed.

  • Former Honduran Chief of Staff Roberto David Castillo was sentenced to 22 years and six months in prison.
  • He was found guilty of conspiracy to murder activist Berta Caceres.
  • She campaigned against the construction of a hydroelectric power plant on the land of her ancestral community.

A Honduran court on Monday sentenced a former energy leader to more than two decades behind bars for his role in the assassination of Berta Caceres, whose 2016 assassination focused on the danger facing environmental and indigenous activists in the Central American country.

Roberto David Castillo, the former president of the Honduran power company Desarrollos Energeticos (DESA), was sentenced to 22 years and six months after being found guilty last year of being an accomplice in Caceres’ murder.

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Caceres, a 44-year-old woman from Lenca who chaired the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations in Honduras (COPINH), organized herself to prevent the power company from building a hydroelectric power plant on the land of her local ancestors when she was shot dead in her home in March 2016.

COPINH welcomed the ruling and called for more investigations into bankers and executives affiliated with DESA.

In December 2019, seven people, including another DESA director, received sentences between 30 and 50 years in prison for roles in Caceres’ murder.

On Twitter, Caceres’ daughter Olivia Zuniga Caceres said she was “outraged” because Castillo “had not received the maximum punishment”.

Ritza Antunez, one of Castillo’s defense attorneys, told Reuters her team planned to appeal the verdict in a final appeals court.

“Punishment is not a product of evidence. It is a product of pressure exerted through the media,” Antunez said.

Caceres, a teacher who won the prestigious Goldman Award in 2015 for her environmental activism, had spoken out about the death threats against her and her family before she was killed.

The sentencing comes days after police in Brazil arrested several suspects involved in the murders of indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips.


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Honduras convicts former leader of murder of environmental activist Berta Caceres

Source link Honduras convicts former leader of murder of environmental activist Berta Caceres

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