David Castillo, co-author of the murder of Lenca environmental defender Berta Cáceres, to be sentenced on May 18

Published by Brent Patterson on

COPINH has tweeted: “Attention: 11 months after the ruling against David Castillo, the sentence of the co-author of the murder of our compañera #BertaCáceres will finally be read. The sentence must be consistent with what was shown in court and should not leave an opportunity for impunity.”

The sentencing in this case has been long delayed.

On July 5, 2021, The Guardian reported: “[Castillo] a US-trained former Honduran army intelligence officer who was the president of an internationally-financed hydroelectric company [Desarrollos Energéticos Sociedad Anónima/DESA] has been found guilty over the assassination of the indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres.”

That article adds: “Cáceres, winner of the Goldman prize for environmental defenders, was shot dead two days before her 45th birthday by hired hitmen on 2 March 2016 after years of threats linked to her opposition of the $50m Agua Zarca dam.”

Others could be implicated in the murder

Last week, EFE reported: “Nina Lakhani, author of Who Killed Berta Cáceres?, has affirmed in an interview with EFE that the change of Government in Honduras ‘could represent an opportunity’ to reopen the case and look for more responsible for his death, among which he does not rule out some ‘high officials’ of the previous executive.”

COPINH has maintained that Castillo is but one of the intellectual authors of the murder.

Berta’s daughter Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres has previously stated: “We will continue to demand the investigation and conviction of the intellectual authors.”

Cáceres family lawyer Víctor Fernández has also stated Berta’s family faces “a power structure, the economic structure that murdered Berta Cáceres, who is not only David Castillo, but the company DESA, the national and international financial system that financed and even continues to benefit the entrepreneurs” who benefited from the concession of the hydroelectric dam” on the Gualcarque River sacred to the Lenca people.

Concession not revoked

Open Democracy has also reported: “[COPINH continues to seek] the revocation of permission for the [Agua Zarca] hydroelectric project. It wants the state to be held accountable for failing to protect Cáceres and to investigate the investment in initiatives premised on such massive human rights violations.”

And Vice reports: “DESA owns the concession for 50 years, [COPINH general coordinator Bertha Zúñiga Cáceres] says, meaning the company has the exclusive right to work the land [without free, prior and informed consent] until 2059.”

Zúñiga Cáceres has highlighted: “They have not given up and apparently have no intention of abandoning the project altogether.”

PBI-Honduras has accompanied COPINH since May 2016.

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