Honduran hydroelectric executive convicted of environmentalist murder

·1-min read
David Castillo (left) is a former member of the Honduran armed forces who was accused of being the 'intellectual perpetrator' of the murder of Berta Caceres

The general manager of a hydroelectric company in Honduras on Monday became the eighth person convicted in the 2016 murder of a renowned environmentalist.

A judge said Roberto David Castillo, a former member of the armed forces who graduated from the West Point military academy in New York, was the "co-perpetrator of the crime of murder."

The victim, Berta Caceres, was a fervent opponent of the activities of the Desarrollos Energeticos S.A. (DESA) company in indigenous territories in Honduras.

Castillo is due to be sentenced on August 3.

During his trial, the court was shown the content of telephone conversations Castillo had with the other seven people sentenced to between 30 and 50 years in prison over the murder.

The court heard that Caceres was killed due to her opposition to DESA's building of a hydroelectric plant on the Gualcarque river.

She was the coordinator of the COPINH group of indigenous organizations and the winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015.

The decision was "a grain of sand" in the search for justice, said Caceres' daughter Laura Zuniga.

"We feel happy now. The Honduran people are fed up with so much impunity and death," said Zuniga.

Caceres's family and the COPINH leadership want more people punished, though, including the partners in DESA, made up of influential banking families.

Caceres was shot dead on March 2, 2016 by men who entered her home in the western village of La Esperanza.

A Mexican who was in another room of the house was injured.

Castillo was arrested two years later, accused of being the mastermind of the murder.

Prosecutors said Castillo and two other DESA executives, who have already been convicted, hired the assassins that killed Caceres.


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