Honduras sentences former executive for murder of environmental activist Berta Caceres

Honduras sentences former executive for murder of environmental activist Berta Caceres





In this file photo taken on 8 March 2018 Roberto David Castillo, then speculate 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 strength executive Roberto David Castillo was sentenced to 22 years and six months in jail.
  • He was found guilty in the collaboration to murder activist Berta Caceres.
  • She campaigned against the building of a hydroelectric plant on her community’s ancestral lands. 

A Honduran court sentenced a former energy executive to over two decades behind bars on Monday for his role in the murder of Berta Caceres, whose 2016 assassination spotlighted the danger facing environmental and native activists in the Central American country.

Roberto David Castillo, the former president of Honduran strength company Desarrollos Energeticos (DESA), was sentenced to 22 years and six months after being found guilty last year for being a co-collaborator in Caceres’ murder.

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Caceres, a 44-year-old Lenca native woman who led the Council of Popular and native Organisations of Honduras (COPINH), was organising to stop the strength company from building a hydroelectric plant on her community’s ancestral lands when she was shot to death in her home in March 2016.

COPINH welcomed the sentence and called for more investigations into bankers and executives associated with DESA.

In December 2019, seven people, including another DESA executive, 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 sentence”.

Ritza Antunez, one of Castillo’s defence attorneys, told Reuters that her team planned to allurement the sentence in a final appellate court.

“The sentence is not the product of evidence. It is the product of pressure exerted by the media,” Antunez said.

Caceres, a teacher who won the prestigious Goldman Prize 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 more suspects involved in the murders of native expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips.

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