Castillo sentenced for Cáceres' killing
(June 21, 2022)
Roberto David Castillo, the former head of Honduran hydroelectric dam company Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA) was sentenced to 22 years and six months for ordering and planning the 2016 assassination of the Indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres.
Cáceres, winner of the Goldman prize for environmental defenders, was killed by hitmen in her home, after years of threats linked to her opposition of the 22-megawatt Agua Zarca dam on the Gualcarque River. (See post for March 4, 2016.)
The sentence comes almost a year after Castillo, a US-trained former Honduran army intelligence officer, was found guilty, reports the Guardian.
According to the Public Ministry, Castillo arranged Cáceres’ murder “as part of a plan to eliminate any obstacle interfering with DESA’s operations on the Gualcarque River, the ancestral lands of the Lenca people.”
Cáceres’ family welcomed the sentence, but said it isn’t enough: “The sentence against … Castillo does not satisfy the demands of justice of the Lenca people. The Honduran state still owes us,” said Bertha Zuñiga, the daughter of the dead ecologist. (EFE)
Cáceres’ murder forms part of a broader pattern of attacks against human rights defenders in Honduras. Killings are the biggest danger faced by environmental defenders in the country, which, according to Global Witness has the world’s second-highest homicide rate per capita. The start of 2022 has been particularly deadly for environmental defenders in Honduras, with two activists found dead in January. Amnesty International has also documented threats, including disappearances, targeting environmentalists.
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