Alleged mastermind convicted of killing environmental activist Berta Cáceres: NPR
Roberto David Castillo is escorted by law enforcement officers to hear the verdict at his trial, which is tied to allegations that he is one of the intellectual authors responsible for the murder of environmentalist and indigenous rights activist Berta Caceres in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Jan. July 2021 are responsible. Elmer Martinez / AP Hide caption
Elmer Martinez / AP
Elmer Martinez / AP
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – A man from Honduras was convicted of murder Monday on Monday for the murder of Berta Cáceres, an award-winning environmental and indigenous rights defender, in 2016.
After a three-month trial, the court found Roberto David Castillo Mejía unanimously guilty of participating in the murder of Cáceres, a member of the Lenca indigenous group that led the opposition to a dam project involving Castillo Mejía.
The court will convene on August 2 to determine a sentence, which can range from 24 to 30 years. Castillo Mejía, who, according to the prosecution, was responsible for the murder, will remain detained at a military base until he is convicted.
In December 2019, seven men were sentenced to prison terms for the murder of Cáceres. Four men were sentenced to 34 years for murder and 16 years for attempted murder. Three others received 30-year prison sentences for their roles.
At the time, prosecutors said the killers were acting on behalf of a company called Desa, which was building a dam that the activist resisted. Castillo Mejía, who heads the project, was arrested in 2018.
Castillo Mejía is said to have paid the killers, provided logistical support and provided resources to those already convicted, according to the prosecutor.
Cáceres was a co-founder of the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. She helped organize the resistance against the Agua Zarca dam project, which was to be built on the Galcarque River. The river has a spiritual meaning for the people of Lenca and is an important source of water. The dam project remains frozen.
In 2015, Cáceres won the prestigious Goldman Prize for its commitment to the environment. She was murdered at her home in La Esperanza on March 3, 2016. A Mexican activist who was with her was also shot but survived.